Sunday, 5 December 2010

The amendments

Further to my earlier blog about the “emergency budget,” I would like to add a few words about the amendment that I tabled at the meeting regarding staff and the wage bill.

The final amendment was not as far-reaching as my original (see earlier post) and comprised two parts, which I felt were fairly innocuous.

It noted the decision of the Cabinet to undertake a review of “employee pay, terms and conditions” and sought assurances from the ruling administration that the potential impact on lower paid employees would be actively considered during negotiations with the unions and, secondly, reductions in severance arrangements (redundancies) not be considered.

Some councillors spoke against the amendments saying that we should not tie the hands of the Council when negotiating with staff.

I countered with reference to the continuing fall in the number of people employed by the authroity, which contrasted with the increase in the number of staff earning over £50,000, up from 127 in 2007-2008 to 143 in 2010.

And in terms of the severance packages for staff, these were reduced only a year ago. I put the view that it would be wrong to change the arrangements once again, as it would lead to staff being treated differently.

The amendment was taken in two parts. The first part about safeguarding employees on lower wages was defeated by a single vote – 51 votes to 50. The second part was also lost, by a much larger margin.

I can honestly say that I was disappointed (understatement) that the councillors did not take the opportunity to put down a strong marker to show some solidarity with the Council staff below management level.

For the record, I also supported the unsuccessful amendments to add extra monies to Adult Social Care; to review the proposed service reductions in relation to One Stop Shops and Libraries; and to guarantee adequate funding to ensure the future of the leisure facilities at Camelford Leisure Centre, Bude Sea Pool, Jubilee Pool in Penzance and the Hayle Sea Pool.

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