Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Attack on B&H Council Staff Allowances

The policies and resources committee of 24th January has proposed a review of allowances received by Brighton and Hove staff. These allowances frequently make up large parts of staff incomes; the Argus reports that £4,000 of a binman’s £17,000 annual salary is made up of these payments, according to the GMB trade union. There is the possibility of an unequal impact on women, resulting in equal pay claims.

The motivation behind this report is to reduce costs. The next round of cuts is expected to reach £25m, and will go to the vote on 28th February, Hove Town Hall, 4:30pm. If the vote tomorrow is successful the details of implementation will be handed over to council officers, who aim to introduce a new scheme by October. The report says the new scheme could be unilaterally imposed if there is not agreement with trade unions. It naively states: “...there is a risk that the trade unions may feel unable to agree any proposals that result in any of their members losing pay without substantial recompense.”

All councils are facing significant cuts from the coalition government. Councillors can oppose these cuts, however since the Greens have taken over the council they have taken no such steps. In Southampton two Labour councilors decided they could no longer stomach passing on the government's attacks and voted against the cuts. They have since used their influence to build local campaigns across Southampton, and are building the idea of Southampton fighting for a needs budget. 

A wave of anti-cuts feeling brought the Greens to power in Brighton and Hove in 2010: why can't the Green councilors take the Southampton road and stand up for the people who elected them? The Greens have to encourage - not resist – a fight for the funding that is currently being cut from the city.

We call on the Green party to call and properly build for a demonstration on the weekend before budget day that demands the government returns the funding they have cut from the city.