Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/873/21528
No wage cuts! Fund equal pay in Derby
Charlie Taylor, Derby Socialist Party
After years of failing to pay women equally, Derby City Labour council's pay review will see many women and some male council workers lose thousands of pounds from their annual pay. The council claims to be implementing 'single status' - equal pay - but instead they are stealing from some groups of workers (usually women!) to pay other groups.
As reported in the Derby Evening Telegraph one woman faces a cut of £16,000 and a couple who both work for the council will see their salaries collectively cut by £17,000. Changes to terms and conditions will mean 52 week contracts will be cut to term time only, with up to seven weeks loss in pay.
This is robbing Peter to pay Paul and as always it is the workers who are forced to pay. The council says it is a government-ordered review and they had no choice in the matter.
Where have we heard this before? The council says it has to implement massive cuts to its services and there is nothing it can do. The council has given employees until 2 January next year to sign up to the new contracts or face dismissal. Some may be offered their jobs back but this would be on the inferior terms and conditions.
This issue could potentially split workers unless the unions are prepared to launch a determined campaign around the call for 'No wage cuts! Fund equal pay'. Up to this point Unison has advised its members not to sign the new contracts in order to preserve their legal rights and are just advising workers to appeal against their individual contract decisions.
Unison should oppose pay cuts in the name of equality and link this to fighting the slaughter of our local jobs and services. Unison has been in negotiations with the council and now is the time to build on the anger and prepare for industrial action on this issue.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on Labour councils to fight austerity and to stand together. The Socialist Party, as part of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), opposes all cuts to jobs and services and calls on councils to set needs budgets and to build a mass campaign demanding the shortfall be made up by central government. This call would receive as much tremendous support as the election of Corbyn on an anti-austerity programme.
Derby school support staff protested against pay cuts outside the council offices on 7 October.
In The Socialist 7 October 2015:
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Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
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