London Indymedia

Brighton Green Party compares staff strike proposals to winter of discontent

GMB | 29.04.2013 21:21 | Public sector cuts | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | London | South Coast

Having voted for Council officers to implement cuts to staff take home pay of up to £95 per week a leading Brighton Green Party Councillor has said compared staff strike proposals to the winter of discontent

The Green Party in Brighton & Hove have sought to justify plans to cut the take home pay of Council employees by stating that the ‘council faces a difficult situation and officers are trying to reach the fairest solution possible in the circumstances’.

They then go on to say that ‘Industrial action will help no-one except the enemies of the unions, as in the winter of 78/79.’ The comments were made in an e-mail from Green Party lead Councillor Rob Jarrett to the GMB Branch in Brighton & Hove.* (See 1. Email Rob Jarrett to Mark Turner below)

The e-mail followed the collapse of negotiations on Green / Conservative cuts of up to £95 a week from the wages of some of the lowest paid Council employees. In 2009 the Green group voted against Conservative plans to cut the pay of Council workers but since coming to power with a slogan of ‘Fair is Worth Fighting For’ in 2011, they have introduced plans to cut the take home pay of some of the lowest paid Council staff by up to £95 a week.

Gary Palmer, GMB Organiser said:

‘The Green Party have said that ’no other major party in England & Wales offers policies as attractive to unions and union members as the Green Party’*(2. Green party policy)

We have now seen the hypocritical true Blue colours of the Greens since they came to power in Brighton, with plans to cut the wages of some of the lowest paid Council workers by up to £95 a week.

GMB will not stand by and watch Brighton Green Party deliver these cuts, and will take all necessary measures to protect our members’

If you support low paid Council staff who face cuts to their take home pay please sign the at , which will be sent to the Green Administration.

1. E-mail Rob Jarrett to Mark Turner 29/04/2013

From: Rob Jarrett []
Sent: 29/04/2013 19:15 CET
To: Mark Turner ; Penelope Thompson
Cc: “Denise D’souza” ; Adam Bates ; Sue Moorman ; Katie Ogden ; Paul Maloney; Rob Macey; Charles Harrity; Gary Palmer; Rab Mckenna ; Jason Kitcat ; Gill Mitchell ; Geoffrey Theobald ; Alex Phillips ; Amy Kennedy ; Ania Kitcat ; Ben Duncan ; Bill Randall ; Christopher Hawtree ; Geoffrey Bowden ; Ian Davey ; Leo Littman ; Lianne De Mello ; Liz Wakefield ; Lizzie Deane ; Matt Follett ; Mike Jones ; Ollie Sykes ; Pete West ; Phelim MacCafferty ; Ruth Buckley
Subject: Re: Pay and allowances negotiations
Dear Mark
Thank you for your email. I have supported unions all my life and continue to do so. The council faces a difficult situation and officers are trying to reach the fairest solution possible in the circumstances.
Industrial action will help no-one except the enemies of the unions, as in the winter of 78/79.
Rob Jarrett
NUT member
Former Unison member
Former national H&S rep for ALSA.

Cllr Rob Jarrett
Chair, Adult Care and Health
Chair, Health and Wellbeing Board

From: Mark Turner
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 12:40 PM GMT Standard Time
To: Penelope Thompson
Cc: Denise D’souza; Adam Bates; Sue Moorman; Katie Ogden; ‘‘ ; ‘‘ ; ‘‘ ; ‘‘ ; Rab Mckenna; Jason Kitcat; Gill Mitchell; Geoffrey Theobald; Alex Phillips; Amy Kennedy; Ania Kitcat; Ben Duncan; Bill Randall; Christopher Hawtree; Geoffrey Bowden; Ian Davey; Jason Kitcat; Leo Littman; Lianne De Mello; Liz Wakefield; Lizzie Deane; Matt Follett; Mike Jones; Ollie Sykes; Pete West; Phelim MacCafferty; Rob Jarrett; Ruth Buckley; Stephanie Powell; Sue Shanks; Sven Rufus; Alan Robins; Anne Pissaridou; Bob Carden; Brian Fitch; Chaun Wilson; Gill Mitchell; Jeane Lepper; Joshua Eades; Leigh Farrow; Leslie Hamilton; Mo Marsh; Penny Gilbey; Warren Morgan; Andrew Wealls; Ann Norman; Brian Pidgeon; Carol Theobald; David Smith; Dawn Barnett; Dee Simson; Denise Cobb; Garry Peltzer-Dunn; Geoffrey Theobald; Geoffrey Wells; Graham Cox; Jayne Bennett; Jonathan Bryant; Ken Norman; Lynda Hyde; Mary Mears; Tony Janio; Vanessa Brown
Subject: Pay and allowances negotiations
Dear Penny,

Further to the above, as you are aware negotiations or consultations have restarted today.

We have been informed by your negotiators today that the offer that is made is your best and final offer which has been verbally communicated with us toady but not in writing.

Based on the information we have been given verbally today, it still shows that members of ours will still lose between £5 and £95/ week, which is the same condition that the Council presented to the Unions at the beginning of these negotiations. In particular, the area that gets hit the most is 260 plus employees working in CityClean, which is the entire workforce. Today your negotiators confirmed that the make up agreement we currently have is being withdrawn, this alone is a loss of £1840 per person in the Refuse service and recycling. Also, the City Clean agreement, which was signed 2009 after the last dispute, your negotiators will not confirm if this is remaining or not. We can only take from their silence on this matter that they will do, which will see a further £2000 cut per annum out of our members pay. Finally, shift allowance, in the case of street sweepers, one of the lowest paid in the Council, will have their annual salary cut by 25%. Plus all the other information received by your negotiators today, in regards to the way overtime is paid outside normal contractual arrangement and also a refusal to extend special schools allowance to mainstream schools where TA s are supporting those with special needs, it is with regret I have to inform you that GMB is now in an official dispute with the Council.

I have already sought agreement from my Regional Secretary to commence an Industrial Action ballot if things have not changed significantly, and to date, things have not changed significantly.

We will inform you of our intentions to ballot our members shortly, when you place your offer in writing. If you or your negotiators decide to communicate with staff before you’ve outlined your offer to us in written form, then we will commence that process earlier.

Finally, we are requesting that you confirm that if our members do not agree to these changes, that it is your intention to impose new contracts of employment because in the presentation today, negotiators have said their offer is based on the report that went to P and R committee.

If you would like to meet and discuss out position face to face, I am more than happy to do that. I would urge that you take up this offer to prevent major Industrial unrest within the Council. If I do not hear from you by close of business today, I take it that my offer of meeting ahs been refused.


Mark Turner

2. Green Party Policy

Green Party relationship with trade unions

Conference notes:

1. That this week’s TUC conference displayed renewed dissatisfaction with New Labour’s attitude to the unions and with its policies affecting workers’ rights.

2. That Tony Blair continues to have a more constructive relationship with the Confederation of British Industry, which represents only corporate interests, than with unions representing many millions of British citizens.

3. That no other major party in England & Wales offers policies as attractive to unions and union members as the Green Party.

Conference therefore welcomes the party executive’s ongoing process of developing closer cooperation with the unions on matters of shared interest, and instructs the new executive to continue to develop this process.

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