Gwynedd council has taken the extraordinary step of writing to staff telling them that it will be issuing new employment contracts to 6,000 employees, threatening them with the sack if they do not accept lesser employment conditions.
The move has caused panic amongst staff who fear they will be shortly losing their jobs and the council’s lowest paid members of staff will be hit hardest by the proposed changes. The joint trade unions – GMB, UNISON and UNITE have condemned the proposals. They have jointly written to the Council registering a formal dispute and requesting that it refers the matter to the Joint Council for Wales Joint Secretaries.
The trade unions oppose any reductions to employment conditions and stated no changes should be made before the Joint Secretaries provide advice to the parties of the dispute. GMB, UNISON and UNITE confirmed Gwynedd Council has not provided them with an equality impact assessment on the impact of proposed changes on low paid female members of staff or what the changes will mean for members of the public who rely on the services these employee provide, such as care and leisure services.
In its proposal the Council wants to make changes to the unsocial hours’ payments for employees working at night affecting cleaners, carers, leisure centre workers and others. The on-call supplement for outside of normal hours will be slashed by £65 per week, affecting staff that organise emergency repairs and keep the roads and people of Gwynedd safe.
The Unions accept Welsh councils have been starved of money because of the severe spending cuts imposed by the UK Conservative government but argue penalising low paid council staff in this way is not acceptable. They draw attention to the fact these same staff haven’t had a decent pay rise for eight years.
GMB, UNISON and UNITE are seeking a constructive dialogue with Gwynedd Council and will continue to encourage the Council to jointly campaign for increased funding for local government in Wales.
Notes to editors
- In letters to each member of staff, dated 26 March 2018, the council writes,
“If you do not volunteer to accept the change to your contract of employment, then you should consider this letter as formal notice that you current contract of employment will be coming to an end on 30th June 2018…”
- The council wants to abolish the supplement worth time and a fifth for work between 8pm and 10pm.
- It will reduce the weekly payment for being ‘on duty’ outside of normal hours of work from £265.88 per week to £200 per week
- This was a decision taken by the cabinet of the council and not the full council
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397
Photo: Tracey Paddison