06:00 Wednesday 21 May 2014

Union staff at East Cambs District Council to protest over pay cuts

Written byJORDAN DAY

Union members protesting outside East Cambs District Council's offices last summer. Union members protesting outside East Cambs District Council's offices last summer.

Staff at East Cambridgeshire District Council have had their wages cut by almost 20 per cent, according to union members.

Unison members say wages have been slashed by a “massive” 18 per cent over the last four years.

Members will be staging a protest outside the council’s headquarters in Nutholt Lane, Ely, today (Wednesday) to “raise public awareness of the effect the ongoing attack on local government pay will have on the local economy”.

Julie Cornwell, chairman of the local Unison branch, said: “In East Cambridgeshire alone we have had four years of staffing cuts and this together with the relentless attack and demonising of the public sector by the present government has seen staff morale hit an all time low.

“Since 2010 we have suffered a massive 18 per cent pay cut in wages because of the three-year pay freeze and a pay rise of just 1 per cent last year – well below inflation.

“You can be sure that no one at Westminster is suffering the same sort of hardship.”

The council is also currently undergoing a major re-shuffle in both its make-up and to the way services are provided.

As a result, more than 20 staff could be made redundant, which Unison says will not only have a detrimental impact on employees - but taxpayers too.

Mrs Cornwell said: “Council employees are largely local people, using local services and who pay the same taxes as everyone else. Our members are suffering from rising fuel, travel costs, food and childcare costs.

“They and their families are worth more and local councillors need to recognise this by stopping the cuts and giving priority to jobs and decent pay.

“If local politicians want votes then they need to recognise the hardship that working families are suffering.”

John Hill, the council’s chief executive, said: “On the back of incredibly tough financial settlements in recent years where the authority has only just balanced its books, the council is in the process of restructuring to meet the challenges of the future to best deliver the services our residents need.

“This work will only be possible with the hard work and effort of our staff and we do not underestimate their dedication to our local communities.”

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