Bosses offers scabs double time to break Cheshire council strike

by - 6th April 2012, 9.00 GMT

Council workers in Cheshire are this weekend continuing their industrial action after bosses rejected their latest proposals to end the dispute.

Members of GMB, UNISON and Unite are striking over attacks on their terms and conditions from Cheshire West and Chester Council. Librarians, street cleaners, care workers and car park attendants will be on strike until Monday.

UNISON Cheshire West and Chester branch secretary Teresa Connally said: “Staff are striking because the council arrogantly cut, amongst other things, their weekend and bank holiday pay down to flat rate.

“Now that the council can’t find anyone to work Easter weekend at flat rate, the hypocrites are offering staff double time for the whole four days if they work.

“This is more than staff would have got before the cuts! The council’s confrontational approach is only strengthening the resolve of staff.

“My message to the council on behalf of UNISON is that we can resolve this dispute but it requires the council to engage with us. Until such time the industrial action will continue.”

GMB organiser Marie Saunderson said: “We’re taking strike action in direct opposition to the savage cuts implemented by the council. GMB and the joint trade unions through ACAS put forward a proposal which we felt would have resolved the dispute, but the authority chose to reject it out of hand leaving our members with no choice but to continue with the action.

 “The cuts have given rise to the loss of enhancement for weekend working, removal of some shift premiums and the removal of the majority of Bank Holiday premiums. These cuts are impacting on many of the lower-paid council employees.”

UNISON regional organiser Maria Moss said: “UNISON has attempted to resolve this dispute by making new proposals to the council using ACAS.

“This is the second or third time that the council have rejected an opportunity to resolve the whole dispute. Our members, who are decent working people, are suffering with the hardest hit being front line and low paid.

“These people keep excellent services running by going above and beyond what is required of them every day. This goodwill has been shot to bits by the leadership of this council.”