Union says most council staff have signed new contracts

Union says most council staff have signed new contracts

Reporter:

Francis Batt

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Union says most council staff have signed new contracts
Angry staff at the Town Hall last month

A leading union official has admitted that last month's angry protests by Royal Borough staff are unlikely to lead to industrial action.

Furious staff picketed Maidenhead Town Hall in protest against new contracts that will see the authority pull out of nationally negotiated pay schemes. They have been threatened with dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts, which come into force on February 1.

But this week Alan Barwise - the vice-chairman of the borough's Unison branch - admitted that most had now signed the contracts, despite being advised by the union not to. He thought strike action or work to rules were highly unlikely.

He said: "I very much doubt there is anything further we can do.

"A work to rule would not work. We are supposed to do 37 hours but nobody sticks to that. You can't stop work when a child or a young person needs help. We are conscientious and that makes us vulnerable."

He said staff felt insulted and bullied, saying: "It is very unfortunate that a split like this has been allowed to develop between managers and members. It is not the way to run the Royal Borough.

"Three senior managers will be gone by Christmas. People are voting with their feet."

Leader of the council Cllr David Burbage said he could not comment on the position of employees who turned up for work on February 1 without having signed the contract.

He said that the three senior officers due to leave were taking retirement. He did not believe staff morale was badly effected by the new contracts, saying: "Unions always say that, they like to put a negative perspective on things.

"Change always causes a degree of concern and it is understandable that people who have lost allowances won't feel happy."

COMMENT: Are you a borough employee? Have you signed the new contracts? Tell us below.

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