Council workers demonstrate outside today’s Cambridgeshire Council Council budget meeting
16:38 19 February 2013
UNISON members demonstrated outside Shire Hall in Cambridge today as Cambridgeshire County Council leader Councillor Nick Clarke delivered his budget speech.
Workers were demonstrating against a proposal to cut council workers’ pay, terms and conditions.
Cllr Clarke told the meeting that the budget would include driving down employee costs, and taking greater control over staff terms and conditions would not only create savings, but give the authority “greater freedom and flexibility” to recruit to key posts like social workers.
The proposed budget would result in a 1.99 per cent rise in council tax for next year, after the council had to find about £37million of extra savings.
Robert Turner, UNISON branch secretary, was at Shire Hall with the protesters, and said :“Myself and UNISON members have e-mailed councillors asking them to consider their votes on today’s budget very carefully.
“We have stressed that if council worker’s pay and terms and conditions are cut, it will have a very negative impact not only on employees, but also their families.
“In my union branch office we have seen a massive increase in stress and mental health related cases coming through from the council work place, that are directly related to the threat and the reality of cuts. People have had enough.”
Also present at the demonstration was former UNISON Branch Secretary Terry Parr. Mr Parr stated: “When I first met Nick Clarke it was obvious that politically we were poles apart but he did come across as someone who knew his own mind and was not easily led.
“How wrong I was. Still, I suppose it was inevitable that after he refused to take Emperor Pickle’s twenty pieces of silver and decided to put up council tax, that his party would come down on him to make sacrificial lambs of the workforce.
“On Cllr Clarke and his parties’ constant assertion that the private sector has had to suffer the pain, I challenge him to provide the evidence for this claim. Name one company with a workforce and turn over the size of the county council’s that has reduced its employees pay and terms and conditions.”