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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 January 2007

No to the 'Single Status' race to the bottom

GREENWICH COUNCIL has proposed a series of wholesale attacks on the pay and conditions of staff. These include reductions in annual leave, removing shift allowances and removal of bonus payments. For some staff, such as low-paid grounds maintenance operatives, the bonus accounts for up to 50% of pay.

These proposals are part of the council's Single Status plans. Under the national Single Status agreement, councils are to work towards eradicating unequal pay. But Greenwich is seeking to harmonise conditions on the lowest point.

UNISON branch secretary Onay Kasab said: "Our members have waited too long for pay inequality to be eradicated. However, this should not and cannot mean a race to the bottom. We condemn a council who are prepared to give chief officers pay rises of up to 20,000 while proposing to drastically cut the pay and conditions of our members.

"Our members have sent a clear message to the council - Not a penny from our pay, not a minute on the day. We will not stand for this pay hypocrisy and will promise the council a new year of discontent."

MEMBERS OF TGWU and GMB unions have voted overwhelmingly for strike action against Single Status proposals in Barking and Dagenham, east London. In a consultative ballot, 99% of TGWU members voted to strike. The unions are now moving to an official strike ballot.

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