UNISON members lobby Swansea Labour Council against swingeing pay cuts
Some council workers face losing their homes
The demonstration against the "Job Evaluation Exercise" being carried out by Labour led Swansea City Council was attended by Unison members who were angry and in some cases visibly distressed.
Although a councillor eventually emerged to address employee grievances and answer questions, she was actually more successful in making a bad situation worse. These front line workers, many of whom are nursery workers, and already poorly paid for looking after our children, are in some cases not just worried about how they will cope with what are swingeing pay cuts. They are terrified about where they will live, since paying the mortgage will no longer be an option. One worker informed the councilor and her workmates that she would be losing £5000 a year, and didn't know how her family would manage.
The councillor, was far from abashed, rather she defended the policy as partly an equal pay exercise, that should have been carried out long ago, making a reference to Barbara Castle. So now we know who's to blame!
She also told those assembled that if they weren't happy they could appeal, you could feel the sense of pure disbelief in the air, somehow the workers felt that their appeals might fall on death ears. Just possibly that's because the whole exercise is about saving money at the workers expense, not fairness.
At the end of the demo I bumped into a local Assembly Member, Peter Black (Liberal Democrat), on the way to the council chamber I assumed. He appeared sympathetic, and told me his own partner was having to take a £3000 pay cut. In 2010 AM's earned in excess of £53,000, so I suspect his family will cope somehow.
Jim Atkinson, Swansea Socialist Party
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