Wiltshire council ‘save money’ by taking from workers’ pockets

Alasdair Cook, Dorset Socialist Party branch

After the recent gains made by Hills refuse workers in opposing attacks on pay and conditions in Salisbury and the wider area, the GMB union’s industrial action continues. This time traffic wardens are in a battle with Wiltshire Council.

Their strike began on Saturday. Wiltshire Council proposed to cut the pay of over 350 staff – all staff who receive an unsocial hours payment.

This affects many frontline workers, including social workers who could lose around £7,000 a year, and the traffic wardens over £2,000 a year.

According to reps, in December the council set out six proposals to help save money by taking from staff pockets. It means a £2.1 million loss in total, including changes to sick pay and overtime.

One rep said the strike will go on “…until the council take it off the table. I’m not going to sit in front of an employer and negotiate a £2,000 pay cut. This will go on as long as necessary.” The rep was confident because the action could lose the council £30,000 a day. The day finished with a rally and a demonstration through the town.