Somerset County Council staff pay under discussion

Somerset County Gazette: Somerset County Council staff pay under discussion Somerset County Council staff pay under discussion

STAFF could have to work more hours for the same pay under measures being discussed in a bid to cut £3million from Somerset County Council’s wage bill.

Bosses are being warned the proposals will reduce already low morale still further, while staff could refrain from working more than their allotted hours.

Among changes to terms and conditions being considered are: *reducing annual leave by two days, with staff able to buy back lost leave entitlement; *cutting weekly hours to 35, with salaries cut pro rata; *increasing the working week from 37 to 40 hours with no increase in pay – or offering staff the option of sticking to the same hours and taking a pay cut; *not paying sick pay for the first three working days of absence.

A worker, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s a slap in the face.

“They’re telling me I’m going to get paid less, which doesn’t take into account the extra hours I put in to complete tasks.

“They can forget about goodwill in the future if that’s how they treat us.”

Arminel Goodall, UNISON’s Somerset county branch secretary, has written to members claiming the “unwelcome” proposals follow a three-year pay freeze and 1% pay rise this year, equating to an 18% pay cut in real terms since 2010.

She told the County Gazette: “Somerset County Council staff are clearly some of the lowest paid workers in the public sector and are already struggling to meet household bills. Staff are anxious.

“We believe these ill-conceived proposals are poor reward for the hard work staff have put in over the past four years in delivering the savings the council has said it needs to make, while maintaining a service for the public of Somerset in the face of reductions in both resources and staff.”

LibDem Cllr Justine Baker said: “At at time when staff are finding it tough already, to have these options in front of them must push morale to an all-time low, particularly just before Christmas.

“I expected more from the public sector, particularly the county council which should be looking after their staff, not making them feel undervalued.”

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “We have been very clear with staff and residents across Somerset that we are facing reduced income but our costs and demand for services are still increasing.

“We are looking at all our services – including staff terms and conditions - to try to reduce this deficit.

“In relation to the UNISON release, we can confirm that we will consult with staff in the new year about proposed changes to sickness payments and payment protection for staff moved to a lower grade role.”

Comments (15)

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12:21pm Thu 12 Dec 13

CappoKid says...

Yet again they have a go at the staff. They have had there T&C's scalled back many times in the past. Its always have a go at the man on the street. The staff live in Somerset as well and have to use these services. How about the Councillors look at themselves for a change and stop paying Cheif Exe's well over a hundred thousand pound a year and top SCC staff 50/60k a year. At this rate there will not be any staff left in CH to make these vital services work.
A lot of staff already work long hours for no extra money because they believe in what there doing for the people who live and work in Somerset which of course is themsellves as well. It dosent seem to work the other way around though.
A lot of the Councillors who make these decisions will not be around in the future to see what effect their decisions have made to peoples lives in Somerset.
Why dont they just come out and say it the Tories just do not believe in Local Government.
Yet again they have a go at the staff. They have had there T&C's scalled back many times in the past. Its always have a go at the man on the street. The staff live in Somerset as well and have to use these services. How about the Councillors look at themselves for a change and stop paying Cheif Exe's well over a hundred thousand pound a year and top SCC staff 50/60k a year. At this rate there will not be any staff left in CH to make these vital services work. A lot of staff already work long hours for no extra money because they believe in what there doing for the people who live and work in Somerset which of course is themsellves as well. It dosent seem to work the other way around though. A lot of the Councillors who make these decisions will not be around in the future to see what effect their decisions have made to peoples lives in Somerset. Why dont they just come out and say it the Tories just do not believe in Local Government. CappoKid

12:21pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Mi_Coc says...

Cuts we have just spent £160k on the brewhouse! Must have loads cash.
Cuts we have just spent £160k on the brewhouse! Must have loads cash. Mi_Coc

12:30pm Thu 12 Dec 13

FreeSpeech? says...

So what has the headline got to do with the attached story. Muppets
So what has the headline got to do with the attached story. Muppets FreeSpeech?

2:27pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Slow down! says...

Residents parking permit fees set to double in price


Is that next weeks big headline?
Residents parking permit fees set to double in price Is that next weeks big headline? Slow down!

12:48am Fri 13 Dec 13

Somerset.SocialistParty says...

OPEN INVITATION: to trade unionists, anti-cuts activists, community campaigners and service users to step forward as local council candidates on a 'NO TO ALL CUTS' platform...

IT'S TIME TO STAND UP TO ALL OF THE THREE MAIN PARTIES OF AUSTERITY CUTS AND PRIVATISATION!

ALL THE THREE MAIN CUTS PARTIES INCLUDING THE SO CALLED 'LABOUR' PARTY, MUST: AS A MATTER OF UTMOST AND INCREASING URGENCY, BE CHALLENGED AT FUTURE LOCAL ELECTIONS!

Councils have experienced one of the biggest government 'departmental cuts' with 27% slashed by 2014-15 compared to 2009-10.

It is not true however that councils have 'no option' but to pass on the Con-Dems' cuts. THIS IS A LIE ON THE MOST MONUMENTAL SCALE!

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has agreed a policy platform, outlined below, to contest local council elections in 2014.

Even one councillor in each local authority taking a stand, if they used their position in the council chamber to appeal to those outside, could give confidence to trade unionists and community campaigners to fight.

All TUSC councillors will:

*Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions - we reject the claim that 'some cuts' are necessary to our services

*Support all workers' struggles against the cuts, privatisation and the government's policy of making ordinary people pay for the crisis caused by the bankers and the bosses

*Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts

*Defend national collective bargaining arrangements for council workers

*Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services

*Oppose racism and fascism and stand up for equality for all

*Use all the legal powers available to councils, including powers to refer local

*NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations, to oppose both cuts and privatisation

*Campaign for the introduction of a Living Wage above the minimum wage, including for all council and contractor employees

*Refuse to implement cuts. Reserves and prudential borrowing powers can be used initially. Set a budget that meets the needs of the local community. Build a mass movement which demands that the government makes up the shortfall

*Support action against climate change. Sustainability before profit.

--------------------


--------------------


--------------------


--------------------




We won't pay for their crisis!

If you agree - stand for TUSC!

To see TUSC's full policy platform and find out more about becoming a candidate, go to www.tusc.org.uk

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC): We need councillors who refuse to implement all cuts!

Posted by the Socialist Party, Taunton and Somerset branch.
www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
OPEN INVITATION: to trade unionists, anti-cuts activists, community campaigners and service users to step forward as local council candidates on a 'NO TO ALL CUTS' platform... IT'S TIME TO STAND UP TO ALL OF THE THREE MAIN PARTIES OF AUSTERITY CUTS AND PRIVATISATION! ALL THE THREE MAIN CUTS PARTIES INCLUDING THE SO CALLED 'LABOUR' PARTY, MUST: AS A MATTER OF UTMOST AND INCREASING URGENCY, BE CHALLENGED AT FUTURE LOCAL ELECTIONS! Councils have experienced one of the biggest government 'departmental cuts' with 27% slashed by 2014-15 compared to 2009-10. It is not true however that councils have 'no option' but to pass on the Con-Dems' cuts. THIS IS A LIE ON THE MOST MONUMENTAL SCALE! The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has agreed a policy platform, outlined below, to contest local council elections in 2014. Even one councillor in each local authority taking a stand, if they used their position in the council chamber to appeal to those outside, could give confidence to trade unionists and community campaigners to fight. All TUSC councillors will: *Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions - we reject the claim that 'some cuts' are necessary to our services *Support all workers' struggles against the cuts, privatisation and the government's policy of making ordinary people pay for the crisis caused by the bankers and the bosses *Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts *Defend national collective bargaining arrangements for council workers *Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services *Oppose racism and fascism and stand up for equality for all *Use all the legal powers available to councils, including powers to refer local *NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations, to oppose both cuts and privatisation *Campaign for the introduction of a Living Wage above the minimum wage, including for all council and contractor employees *Refuse to implement cuts. Reserves and prudential borrowing powers can be used initially. Set a budget that meets the needs of the local community. Build a mass movement which demands that the government makes up the shortfall *Support action against climate change. Sustainability before profit. -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- We won't pay for their crisis! If you agree - stand for TUSC! To see TUSC's full policy platform and find out more about becoming a candidate, go to www.tusc.org.uk Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC): We need councillors who refuse to implement all cuts! Posted by the Socialist Party, Taunton and Somerset branch. www.socialistparty.o rg.uk Somerset.SocialistParty

10:56am Fri 13 Dec 13

Somerset.SocialistParty says...

Austerity and the new working poor

The privileged position of these establishment politicians is even more galling in that news of their forecast pay rise coincided with a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) charity which shows a big increase in the numbers of working poor in Britain (see below).

At the same time, the New Economics Foundation think tank says: "Workers on low and middle incomes are experiencing the biggest decline in their living standards since reliable records began in the mid-19th century."

Some of the JRF report's main findings:

*The number of workers paid below the living wage (currently £7.65, £8.80 in London) rose from 4.6 million to five million in 2012.

*50% of working families in poverty have an adult paid below the living wage

*The fall in median income over the last two years has wiped out all the gains of the previous decade, the JRF said.

*Median incomes in the UK in 2011-12, in real terms, were just below what they were in 2001-02 - £367 a week compared with £368.

*Incomes of the poorest 10% have been falling since 2004-05.

*Average incomes have fallen by 8% since their peak in 2008. As a result, around two million people have an income that while above today's poverty line, would have been below the poverty line in 2008.

*6.7 million working families are living below the poverty line - a rise of 500,000 from 2012.

*Julia Unwin, chief executive of the JRF, said: "Hard work is not working. We have a labour market that lacks pay and protection, with jobs offering precious little security and paltry wages that are insufficient to make ends meet."

*The government can claim that the number of pensioners in poverty is at a 30-year low... But, 6.3 million retired and unemployed families are living in poverty

*400,000 families have been hit by a double whammy of benefit cuts from the 'bedroom tax' and council tax benefit. Two-thirds of these families were already in poverty

(Source: Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion report 2013)

Don't just get angry...Get organised!

Join the Socialist Party at www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
Austerity and the new working poor The privileged position of these establishment politicians is even more galling in that news of their forecast pay rise coincided with a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) charity which shows a big increase in the numbers of working poor in Britain (see below). At the same time, the New Economics Foundation think tank says: "Workers on low and middle incomes are experiencing the biggest decline in their living standards since reliable records began in the mid-19th century." Some of the JRF report's main findings: *The number of workers paid below the living wage (currently £7.65, £8.80 in London) rose from 4.6 million to five million in 2012. *50% of working families in poverty have an adult paid below the living wage *The fall in median income over the last two years has wiped out all the gains of the previous decade, the JRF said. *Median incomes in the UK in 2011-12, in real terms, were just below what they were in 2001-02 - £367 a week compared with £368. *Incomes of the poorest 10% have been falling since 2004-05. *Average incomes have fallen by 8% since their peak in 2008. As a result, around two million people have an income that while above today's poverty line, would have been below the poverty line in 2008. *6.7 million working families are living below the poverty line - a rise of 500,000 from 2012. *Julia Unwin, chief executive of the JRF, said: "Hard work is not working. We have a labour market that lacks pay and protection, with jobs offering precious little security and paltry wages that are insufficient to make ends meet." *The government can claim that the number of pensioners in poverty is at a 30-year low... But, 6.3 million retired and unemployed families are living in poverty *400,000 families have been hit by a double whammy of benefit cuts from the 'bedroom tax' and council tax benefit. Two-thirds of these families were already in poverty (Source: Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion report 2013) Don't just get angry...Get organised! Join the Socialist Party at www.socialistparty.o rg.uk Somerset.SocialistParty

5:18pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Mi_Coc says...

13 years of labour means we have top heavy local authorities with the management earning 60-180k and they are cutting the lower paid staff pay who will feel it.

It's because of these higher earners that the parliamentary watchdog has recommended 11% pay rise for mps.
13 years of labour means we have top heavy local authorities with the management earning 60-180k and they are cutting the lower paid staff pay who will feel it. It's because of these higher earners that the parliamentary watchdog has recommended 11% pay rise for mps. Mi_Coc

9:40pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Mr Billy O'naire says...

Oh joy of joys!

My old Etonian chums and me are going to make even more money here... what a fantastic opportunity for my millionaire chums and me to turn an extra few £million on top of the cash we trousered through the Great Royal Mail job, the bank jobs and making the great smelly unwashed proles work longer, pay more and receive less pension...what a hoot! What truly great Value For Money!

What we millionaires plan to do is quite simple; we intend to make you all work longer for the same or even less pay - whilst we get richer and richer by the second - what a spiffing hoot! This will in turn make it easier for us to simply get rid of more of you altogether and throw you all on to the unemployment heap where you will all be grateful to lick t' road clean for a fraction of the salary that you currently enjoy, and think yourself blooming lucky to live in a capitalist, property owning, share owning democracy!

We also intend to propose the erection of a double statue to be erected outside of County Hall of the Great Blessed Margaret Thatcher hugging her political heir, the young Prime Minister Tony Blair in honour of the wonderful work they both achieved in enriching all of us billionaires!

Of course we multi-millionaires and billionaires anticipate no 'problems' from the Somerset County Council trade union 'leadership', they will simply stick to their tried and trusted techniques of providing a commentary of how 'bad' things are for their members, whilst offering little or nothing in terms of a fighting strategy to resist our 'modernisation' plans. They will once more prove themselves to be fully acquiescent to our demands for cuts; they will continue to be political putty in our hands...over the past few years they have proved themselves to be very capable of helping us multi-millionaires impose our programme of austerity on the millions of worker proles - we don't know where we'd be without them!

Am just off now for a ten thousand pound per head charity dinner; modesty prevents me from elaborating on how much money I am raising for food banks. Suffice to say that Somerset County Council employees can rest assured that I shall put in a good word to ensure that you all have preferential rations of gruel when it becomes your turn to queue up to sample my beneficence!

Oh nearly forgot we have great plans for the privatisation of Learning Disabilities just you all wait we can't wait to unveil our plans to bring you all in the real world and make you all work for the likes of the National Autistic Society for a 30% pay cut just for starters! Oh the joy the joy... If only the Blessed Margaret were alive to see it all she would be so proud of us!

If any of you would like to do a few more hours for 'pin money' then I have a few vacancies to be filled in my supermarket empire. Toodle pip! Isn't life splendid and great!



Every little helps......me that is.......
mmmmmwwhhhooooooooaa
aahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahahahahahhahah
ahahhhhhhhhhhahahaha
aaaaaaaaaaahahhahhah
ahahah!
Oh joy of joys! My old Etonian chums and me are going to make even more money here... what a fantastic opportunity for my millionaire chums and me to turn an extra few £million on top of the cash we trousered through the Great Royal Mail job, the bank jobs and making the great smelly unwashed proles work longer, pay more and receive less pension...what a hoot! What truly great Value For Money! What we millionaires plan to do is quite simple; we intend to make you all work longer for the same or even less pay - whilst we get richer and richer by the second - what a spiffing hoot! This will in turn make it easier for us to simply get rid of more of you altogether and throw you all on to the unemployment heap where you will all be grateful to lick t' road clean for a fraction of the salary that you currently enjoy, and think yourself blooming lucky to live in a capitalist, property owning, share owning democracy! We also intend to propose the erection of a double statue to be erected outside of County Hall of the Great Blessed Margaret Thatcher hugging her political heir, the young Prime Minister Tony Blair in honour of the wonderful work they both achieved in enriching all of us billionaires! Of course we multi-millionaires and billionaires anticipate no 'problems' from the Somerset County Council trade union 'leadership', they will simply stick to their tried and trusted techniques of providing a commentary of how 'bad' things are for their members, whilst offering little or nothing in terms of a fighting strategy to resist our 'modernisation' plans. They will once more prove themselves to be fully acquiescent to our demands for cuts; they will continue to be political putty in our hands...over the past few years they have proved themselves to be very capable of helping us multi-millionaires impose our programme of austerity on the millions of worker proles - we don't know where we'd be without them! Am just off now for a ten thousand pound per head charity dinner; modesty prevents me from elaborating on how much money I am raising for food banks. Suffice to say that Somerset County Council employees can rest assured that I shall put in a good word to ensure that you all have preferential rations of gruel when it becomes your turn to queue up to sample my beneficence! Oh nearly forgot we have great plans for the privatisation of Learning Disabilities just you all wait we can't wait to unveil our plans to bring you all in the real world and make you all work for the likes of the National Autistic Society for a 30% pay cut just for starters! Oh the joy the joy... If only the Blessed Margaret were alive to see it all she would be so proud of us! If any of you would like to do a few more hours for 'pin money' then I have a few vacancies to be filled in my supermarket empire. Toodle pip! Isn't life splendid and great! Every little helps......me that is....... mmmmmwwhhhooooooooaa aahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahhahah ahahhhhhhhhhhahahaha aaaaaaaaaaahahhahhah ahahah! Mr Billy O'naire

12:18pm Sat 14 Dec 13

tonysays says...

Does anyone posting actually understand how bad things are at SCC? What the organization is essentially saying is work harder, and where possible, for free. Forget all your prejudice about public sector being overpaid, lazy or whatever the Daily Mail tells you, these are real Somerset people who deliver your public services every day getting some really rough treatment. Perhaps the CEo can be asked for a comment (for the first time ever by this paper), oh wait, she's on 'sick leave' for Xmas, on full pay. Enjoy it while you can Sheila, you'll soon have to pay if you're poorly if these bonkers plans are pushed through.
Does anyone posting actually understand how bad things are at SCC? What the organization is essentially saying is work harder, and where possible, for free. Forget all your prejudice about public sector being overpaid, lazy or whatever the Daily Mail tells you, these are real Somerset people who deliver your public services every day getting some really rough treatment. Perhaps the CEo can be asked for a comment (for the first time ever by this paper), oh wait, she's on 'sick leave' for Xmas, on full pay. Enjoy it while you can Sheila, you'll soon have to pay if you're poorly if these bonkers plans are pushed through. tonysays

9:49pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Somerset.SocialistParty says...

Osborne's budget statement - work 'til you drop or fight back!

The Tories brayed and shouted, they stamped their feet, they cheered as multi-millionaire George Osborne, the self-styled 'Iron Chancellor', rained hammer blow after hammer blow on the living standards of all but the super-rich.

Osborne pledged to claw public spending back to its 1948 level. The Con-Dems are forging ahead with their attempt to roll back the welfare state and with it all the hard-won gains made by the working class in the 20th century.

The Autumn Budget Statement contained a further £3 billion in cuts over the next three years, a below inflation increase of only 1% for out-of-work benefits, and the introduction of a cap on welfare spending.

But Osborne boasted that Plan A for austerity was working. The weak economic recovery, however, is fuelled by increased consumer spending, which is based on rising household debt and spending savings, and a housing bubble. In fact, Osborne has reverted to the policy of economic growth through financial speculation and debt that triggered the crisis in the first place.

No investment increase

All the post-election talk of the "march of the makers" and boosting manufacturing has been shelved - there has been no increase in investment.

Meanwhile it is business as usual for the rich, who seem to live in another world - even RBS chairman Philip Hampton said he felt like he was having an out-of-body experience when one banker complained to him that his bonus was only £4 million.

The changes to the retirement age are particularly pernicious. They represent an offensive against the successes won by public sector workers in 2005 against the Blair government's threats to pensions. Plans to extend the retirement age to 68 and 69 will be brought forward to the mid-2030s and 2040s.

With the prospect of a pensions commission that would periodically review the date people got their pension on the basis of life expectancy, Osborne posed the threat of an open-ended retirement.

The outlook for young people is bleak. Youth unemployment has been rising since 2010 - and now consultants PwC have calculated that today's youngest teenagers could have a state pension age of 75 and those born today could work until 77. Or not as the case may be.

Osborne justifies the changes on the basis of rising life expectancy but according to the Office for National Statistics this has actually fallen since 2009. One third of men and one quarter of women will not live long enough to claim their pensions in the mid-2030s. Lower life-expectancy is concentrated among the poorest.

Many workers will fear that the new age for the state pension will be used as the yardstick in occupational pension schemes in the public and private sector. This will invalidate one of the main planks in the 'deal' that was agreed to by the right-wing union leaders to scupper the N30 pensions strike.

Union members should call for an emergency meeting of the TUC General Council to organise a 24-hour general strike against this latest vicious instalment of the cuts and the austerity offensive in general.

The Con-Dems can only get away with these blatant class attacks because of the absence of a political opposition to austerity in parliament and the failure of most of the trade union leadership to harness the growing anger against austerity and mount a real fight.

Frances O'Grady, the leader of the TUC, acknowledged that the statement "was a major blow to the hard-working people who get so regularly name-checked by this government" but she offered no way forward.

The huge demo and public sector strikes that took place in 2011 showed the potential for a determined fightback until it was sold out by the right-wing trade union leaders. In the last months firefighters, teachers, university lecturers and probation officers have been on strike, proving that where a lead is given workers take the opportunity to express the boiling anger against cuts and austerity. Firefighters are continuing their battle to defend pensions in a strike on 13 and 14 December.

Labour government

But still the TUC leadership cower in the trenches, waiting for a Labour government which has pledged to carry on with the austerity policies demanded by the bosses and the super-rich.

The few crumbs that Osborne dropped, such as the £50 reduction in fuel bills and scrapping the fuel duty increase, were partly a reaction to Labour's pledge to freeze energy prices. But mainly it was an acknowledgement of the popular anger beneath the surface over falling living standards while big business and the banks pile up profits.

But anyone who thinks that a Labour government will do more than dole out the same few crumbs is mistaken.

Ed Balls, in a pathetic performance, pledged that Labour would stick to the Tory spending limits outlined in the autumn statement.

In fact, a struggle now, including setting the date and preparing for a 24-hour general strike, is the best way to inform a future government that austerity will be resisted.

Meanwhile Labour leaders such as Rachel Reeves mount campaigns to save one of the cruellest cuts - the ill-fated Universal Credit - instead of signing its death warrant by pledging to undo it in government.

Yet when even a hint of opposition is given, such as when Labour said it would abolish the bedroom tax or freeze energy prices it gets overwhelming public support.

In fact the public is normally far to the left, such as the mass support there is for re-nationalisation of the energy companies. But it gives a glimpse of what can be achieved by a fight.

Who can doubt that if a 24-hour general strike had been built for in 2013 it would have ignited a mass movement against austerity which could have driven the Con-Dem government of millionaires back?

A new mass workers' party is urgently needed to put forward that political alternative to austerity, linked to struggle.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, whose leadership includes the RMT transport union, will be standing hundreds of candidates in the local elections in 2014 as a step towards building such a party.

Fore more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
Osborne's budget statement - work 'til you drop or fight back! The Tories brayed and shouted, they stamped their feet, they cheered as multi-millionaire George Osborne, the self-styled 'Iron Chancellor', rained hammer blow after hammer blow on the living standards of all but the super-rich. Osborne pledged to claw public spending back to its 1948 level. The Con-Dems are forging ahead with their attempt to roll back the welfare state and with it all the hard-won gains made by the working class in the 20th century. The Autumn Budget Statement contained a further £3 billion in cuts over the next three years, a below inflation increase of only 1% for out-of-work benefits, and the introduction of a cap on welfare spending. But Osborne boasted that Plan A for austerity was working. The weak economic recovery, however, is fuelled by increased consumer spending, which is based on rising household debt and spending savings, and a housing bubble. In fact, Osborne has reverted to the policy of economic growth through financial speculation and debt that triggered the crisis in the first place. No investment increase All the post-election talk of the "march of the makers" and boosting manufacturing has been shelved - there has been no increase in investment. Meanwhile it is business as usual for the rich, who seem to live in another world - even RBS chairman Philip Hampton said he felt like he was having an out-of-body experience when one banker complained to him that his bonus was only £4 million. The changes to the retirement age are particularly pernicious. They represent an offensive against the successes won by public sector workers in 2005 against the Blair government's threats to pensions. Plans to extend the retirement age to 68 and 69 will be brought forward to the mid-2030s and 2040s. With the prospect of a pensions commission that would periodically review the date people got their pension on the basis of life expectancy, Osborne posed the threat of an open-ended retirement. The outlook for young people is bleak. Youth unemployment has been rising since 2010 - and now consultants PwC have calculated that today's youngest teenagers could have a state pension age of 75 and those born today could work until 77. Or not as the case may be. Osborne justifies the changes on the basis of rising life expectancy but according to the Office for National Statistics this has actually fallen since 2009. One third of men and one quarter of women will not live long enough to claim their pensions in the mid-2030s. Lower life-expectancy is concentrated among the poorest. Many workers will fear that the new age for the state pension will be used as the yardstick in occupational pension schemes in the public and private sector. This will invalidate one of the main planks in the 'deal' that was agreed to by the right-wing union leaders to scupper the N30 pensions strike. Union members should call for an emergency meeting of the TUC General Council to organise a 24-hour general strike against this latest vicious instalment of the cuts and the austerity offensive in general. The Con-Dems can only get away with these blatant class attacks because of the absence of a political opposition to austerity in parliament and the failure of most of the trade union leadership to harness the growing anger against austerity and mount a real fight. Frances O'Grady, the leader of the TUC, acknowledged that the statement "was a major blow to the hard-working people who get so regularly name-checked by this government" but she offered no way forward. The huge demo and public sector strikes that took place in 2011 showed the potential for a determined fightback until it was sold out by the right-wing trade union leaders. In the last months firefighters, teachers, university lecturers and probation officers have been on strike, proving that where a lead is given workers take the opportunity to express the boiling anger against cuts and austerity. Firefighters are continuing their battle to defend pensions in a strike on 13 and 14 December. Labour government But still the TUC leadership cower in the trenches, waiting for a Labour government which has pledged to carry on with the austerity policies demanded by the bosses and the super-rich. The few crumbs that Osborne dropped, such as the £50 reduction in fuel bills and scrapping the fuel duty increase, were partly a reaction to Labour's pledge to freeze energy prices. But mainly it was an acknowledgement of the popular anger beneath the surface over falling living standards while big business and the banks pile up profits. But anyone who thinks that a Labour government will do more than dole out the same few crumbs is mistaken. Ed Balls, in a pathetic performance, pledged that Labour would stick to the Tory spending limits outlined in the autumn statement. In fact, a struggle now, including setting the date and preparing for a 24-hour general strike, is the best way to inform a future government that austerity will be resisted. Meanwhile Labour leaders such as Rachel Reeves mount campaigns to save one of the cruellest cuts - the ill-fated Universal Credit - instead of signing its death warrant by pledging to undo it in government. Yet when even a hint of opposition is given, such as when Labour said it would abolish the bedroom tax or freeze energy prices it gets overwhelming public support. In fact the public is normally far to the left, such as the mass support there is for re-nationalisation of the energy companies. But it gives a glimpse of what can be achieved by a fight. Who can doubt that if a 24-hour general strike had been built for in 2013 it would have ignited a mass movement against austerity which could have driven the Con-Dem government of millionaires back? A new mass workers' party is urgently needed to put forward that political alternative to austerity, linked to struggle. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, whose leadership includes the RMT transport union, will be standing hundreds of candidates in the local elections in 2014 as a step towards building such a party. Fore more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk Somerset.SocialistParty

9:56pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Somerset.SocialistParty says...

Who can doubt that if a 24-hour general strike had been built for in 2013 it would have ignited a mass movement against austerity which could have driven the Con-Dem government of millionaires back?

A new mass workers' party is urgently needed to put forward that political alternative to austerity, linked to struggle.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), whose leadership includes the RMT transport union, will be standing hundreds of candidates in the local elections in 2014 as a step towards building such a party.

Visit: www.tusc.org.uk for more information, or to join TUSC.
Who can doubt that if a 24-hour general strike had been built for in 2013 it would have ignited a mass movement against austerity which could have driven the Con-Dem government of millionaires back? A new mass workers' party is urgently needed to put forward that political alternative to austerity, linked to struggle. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), whose leadership includes the RMT transport union, will be standing hundreds of candidates in the local elections in 2014 as a step towards building such a party. Visit: www.tusc.org.uk for more information, or to join TUSC. Somerset.SocialistParty

9:15pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Mi_Coc says...

Couple of issue skipping record posts.


One it's all aimed at public sector it's not like most of private sector will retire at 60!

You offer no alternative to the cuts we have a debt to repay years of overspend.

Where is the. Obey going to come from for the champagne for all public sector workers.
Couple of issue skipping record posts. One it's all aimed at public sector it's not like most of private sector will retire at 60! You offer no alternative to the cuts we have a debt to repay years of overspend. Where is the. Obey going to come from for the champagne for all public sector workers. Mi_Coc

12:45pm Wed 18 Dec 13

K-78 says...

The Council(s) are in a less than perfect position due to decades of mis-management. However, HR/Managers need to understand that motivated, happy, staff equals increases in productivity and quality of output, plus longer service (no retraining for constant new hires).

The inevitable rise in work output means a reduction in staff (cost saving) but the Council is beholden to the whims of the unions - otherwise ineffective, poorly performing staff would be fired far quicker than they currently are (or even promoted to another department just the get them out of the 'problem' one).

* The council needs to stop meddling at a low/middle management level, making 'tweaks' that often do not work and are done for self-gain/office politics rather than the bigger picture.

* Tell staff where the council is going, what is being done, and why. Replicate at a departmental/section level. People dislike uncertainty but can cope with bad news; make them feel valued through seminars and 'value chain' internal marketing (not necessarily expensive).

*Allow staff to anonymously 'shop' managers who are inconsistent, poorly performing, or simply not up to the task of management. Weed out the dead weight in a properly set out review process. This would make poorer managers work harder at being effective.
The Council(s) are in a less than perfect position due to decades of mis-management. However, HR/Managers need to understand that motivated, happy, staff equals increases in productivity and quality of output, plus longer service (no retraining for constant new hires). The inevitable rise in work output means a reduction in staff (cost saving) but the Council is beholden to the whims of the unions - otherwise ineffective, poorly performing staff would be fired far quicker than they currently are (or even promoted to another department just the get them out of the 'problem' one). * The council needs to stop meddling at a low/middle management level, making 'tweaks' that often do not work and are done for self-gain/office politics rather than the bigger picture. * Tell staff where the council is going, what is being done, and why. Replicate at a departmental/section level. People dislike uncertainty but can cope with bad news; make them feel valued through seminars and 'value chain' internal marketing (not necessarily expensive). *Allow staff to anonymously 'shop' managers who are inconsistent, poorly performing, or simply not up to the task of management. Weed out the dead weight in a properly set out review process. This would make poorer managers work harder at being effective. K-78

4:54pm Thu 19 Dec 13

TLOMB9 says...

It's a shame Somerset Socialist Party have used this comment thread to copy and paste their drivel. Please tell me where you would make the savings needed?

I'm definitely against changes to T&C's, but unfortunately think that the alternative is a rise in Council Tax. Something I'd be happy to see if it meant staff kept jobs. However, if Council Tax is to rise, SCC need to look at the top tier pay structure. I'm happy to fund vital services, but not happy to pay those sat at their desks pretending to direct.
It's a shame Somerset Socialist Party have used this comment thread to copy and paste their drivel. Please tell me where you would make the savings needed? I'm definitely against changes to T&C's, but unfortunately think that the alternative is a rise in Council Tax. Something I'd be happy to see if it meant staff kept jobs. However, if Council Tax is to rise, SCC need to look at the top tier pay structure. I'm happy to fund vital services, but not happy to pay those sat at their desks pretending to direct. TLOMB9

7:10am Tue 24 Dec 13

Somerset.SocialistParty says...

FOR URGENT ATTENTION OF SOMERSET COUNTY COUNCIL CARE WORKERS!

Originally posted on 19 December 2013 at 14:13 GMT

Care UK - profiting at the expense of the vulnerable

Support staff in Doncaster received an early Christmas present on 16 December in the form of a letter outlining the 'proposed changes to service' by their new employer Care UK, regarding its recent acquisition of a supported living service for vulnerable adults with learning disabilities.

These include NO enhancements for working weekends, nights or bank holidays (which in itself will mean a pay cut averaging £400 a month due to the fact we provide a 24/7 service), and only BASIC annual leave entitlements, statutory sick pay and statutory maternity pay.

Since this company took over in September we have seen staff teams who have worked together for decades being turned over overnight, staff already seeing a drop in wages due to the fact they're just 'too expensive' to put on certain shifts and record numbers of staff applying for bank contracts with the health trust just to keep their foot in the door. Happy Christmas eh?

Service worsens

This is not to mention the effect it has had on our service users - vulnerable people who have put their trust in us, relying on our familiar faces and the support we give to them. A lot of our service users are on the autistic spectrum and when 50% of a staff team is forced to leave out of fear of not being able to provide for their own families, issues will arise.

I spoke to a colleague in the day care service and she informed me that attendance for a particular service user has dropped from every morning to three, maybe four, times a month. Nowadays it seems he is afraid to leave the house, with the bricks and mortar around him being his only constant.

It is inhuman to think that you can care for someone for the best part of a decade and not love them. Sadly that is the emotional blackmail that courses through the very veins of the care industry. Choose between the person you have cared for, worked with, rehabilitated; and keeping a roof over your family's head.

The mood in the homes is not anger, it's upset. We are carers, not fighters. But forced, we will stand ground and never accept the terms imposed upon us.

Unison balloted its members on 10 December for strike action and will know the result later next week.

For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
FOR URGENT ATTENTION OF SOMERSET COUNTY COUNCIL CARE WORKERS! Originally posted on 19 December 2013 at 14:13 GMT Care UK - profiting at the expense of the vulnerable Support staff in Doncaster received an early Christmas present on 16 December in the form of a letter outlining the 'proposed changes to service' by their new employer Care UK, regarding its recent acquisition of a supported living service for vulnerable adults with learning disabilities. These include NO enhancements for working weekends, nights or bank holidays (which in itself will mean a pay cut averaging £400 a month due to the fact we provide a 24/7 service), and only BASIC annual leave entitlements, statutory sick pay and statutory maternity pay. Since this company took over in September we have seen staff teams who have worked together for decades being turned over overnight, staff already seeing a drop in wages due to the fact they're just 'too expensive' to put on certain shifts and record numbers of staff applying for bank contracts with the health trust just to keep their foot in the door. Happy Christmas eh? Service worsens This is not to mention the effect it has had on our service users - vulnerable people who have put their trust in us, relying on our familiar faces and the support we give to them. A lot of our service users are on the autistic spectrum and when 50% of a staff team is forced to leave out of fear of not being able to provide for their own families, issues will arise. I spoke to a colleague in the day care service and she informed me that attendance for a particular service user has dropped from every morning to three, maybe four, times a month. Nowadays it seems he is afraid to leave the house, with the bricks and mortar around him being his only constant. It is inhuman to think that you can care for someone for the best part of a decade and not love them. Sadly that is the emotional blackmail that courses through the very veins of the care industry. Choose between the person you have cared for, worked with, rehabilitated; and keeping a roof over your family's head. The mood in the homes is not anger, it's upset. We are carers, not fighters. But forced, we will stand ground and never accept the terms imposed upon us. Unison balloted its members on 10 December for strike action and will know the result later next week. For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk Somerset.SocialistParty

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