Union members threaten action over council cuts
8:46am Friday 8th March 2013 in Local
UNISON members in Bolton have unanimously agreed to take industrial action if the council imposes compulsory redundancies.
More than 100 members of the union gathered at Bolton Town Hall’s Lancaster Suite on Wednesday, where they pledged their opposition to cuts and the prospect of any compulsory job losses at the authority, while also backing the union’s national decision to reject a one per cent pay rise for local government workers.
There was applause for branch secretary Bernadette Gallagher when she said: “The banks have robbed us of our future and our children’s future, and there should be no bonuses until they pay us back.”
Compulsory job losses have so far been avoided at the council, despite the authority axing 833 posts in the past two years.
But last month councillors voted through more than £43 million in cuts over the next two years.
The move will see the loss of 536 more jobs — 240 of which are currently vacant or filled by agency staff.
So far 150 to 200 people have offered to accept voluntary redundancy, leaving a question mark above the remaining 96 to 146 “under threat” jobs.
Mrs Gallagher claimed the Government was imposing cuts for ideological reasons. She said: “This is a runaway train and we’ll have 1,500 jobs gone from local government in Bolton by 2015.
“If people are made to take compulsory redundancy, we must take industrial action — that’s the line in the sand for this branch.”
Nationally, local government workers have had their wages frozen for three years and Ms Gallagher told The Bolton News her branch’s welfare officer had seen a massive increase in casework, and that some members had been forced to turn to food banks.
After the meeting, John Lewis, the Unison’s regional head of local government, said: “Pay has fallen by 15 per cent in real terms in four years.
“It’s about making it clear we’re not prepared to stand there and be rolled over.”
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