NIPSA, UNITE and GMB condemn the decision taken to slash staff wages at the council meeting on Thursday 14th May 2020.
Representatives of all three staff trade unions, NIPSA, GMB and Unite denounced the confirmation by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council management that councillors have voted to introduce a 20 percent pay reduction on furloughed staff and casual workers. The numbers affected by the detriment, which will come into force on 19th of May, includes 205 staff and 170 casual workers for whom the council is seeking furlough.
Natalie Shiel, on behalf of NIPSA said: “It has not been explained to Trade Unions why ANBC are not in the financial position to avoid a detriment in pay in line with other Councils. The Council will only be required to pay one fifth of furloughed staff pay. It is clear that not enough cost saving measures have been considered before asking dedicated lower-paid workers to sacrifice 20% of their wage. Councillors and higher paid decision-makers will be unaffected by such cuts in wages whilst not being prepared to similarly ensure that their workers receive their full pay during this uncertain time. They have therefore placed the financial burden on the lower paid workers.”
Alan Perry on behalf of GMB states: “this is a totally appalling act by the councillors of Antrim and Newtownabbey council to cut the pay of staff. A number of employees who are effected will be some of the lowest paid within the organisation and the financial implications this may have on them is very concerning. We call upon the council to engage in meaningful negotiations with the recognised Trade Unions to look at ways to mitigate any losses to staff.
We also call on the councillors and senior management of ANBC to share the financial burden and not to unload it onto the lowest paid employees.
To date the way senior officers and councillors have treated staff is deplorable making announcements at the last minute and choosing to communicate through the press rather than their employees representatives, they should be ashamed of themselves.”
Unite Regional Officer, Kieran Ellison said, “The approach taken by Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council in opting to cut the pay of some of their lowest paid employees has left many workers upset and dismayed. The way that this decision has been announced has left very little time for employees affected to consult their respective Trade Unions on the many questions they have. Morale within the workforce is dissipating rapidly and workers are asking themselves why they are expected to sacrifice while those who are taking these decisions continue to receive full compensation. I urge our members working for the council to contact Unite quickly ahead of the imposed deadline to discuss their options.”
Another aspect of this is a cut in Nilgosc pension contributions by the employer. Unions need to look into this side of it as well. If they get away with this and other councils follow, the pension fund will diminish over time. There are already signs from across the water that attacks on pensions are being considered by bosses as a way of making us pay for this crisis. One of the reasons we stay in local council jobs is at the end at least theres a half decent pension.
Disgraceful behaviour by this newly amalgamated council. Newtownabbey BC used to be in the top 3 of councils and perceived as a forward thinking organisation who valued their staff and set standards the envy of others. Looks like standards have slipped since the amalgamation with Antrim BC.
Shame on you all!