|The GMB Cityclean picket line this morning|
This is the case with the Cityclean dispute and I support the position put below in an Open Letter by a group of Green councillors and activists in the city:
As concerned Green Party activists, Councillors and trade unionists we feel we have no option other than to write this letter. This is our response to the news that the Council’s Cityclean workforce intend to take industrial action following the collapse of negotiations relating to proposed changes to their pay and allowances.
We are appalled that the situation has escalated to the point where Council employees are forced to take strike action in order to be heard. We are concerned that as activists from a party which has spent years arguing for workers’ rights that on this occasion the argument is wrong.
We continue to oppose the imposition of pay cuts as per the decision of our Emergency General Meeting in May. Further we will show solidarity with the workers affected by this decision.
We are Green Party members because we believe in its core value of social justice. Imposing a reduction to the take home pay of some of our lowest paid workers runs completely contrary to this.
We fully support the difficult process of trying to equalise the Council’s very complex allowance system so that all staff are treated fairly. That said we deplore the fact that previous Labour and Conservative-led councils failed to fix the problem when they had the opportunity.
However, we cannot accept a situation which attempts to impose a settlement on staff without the agreement of all Unions involved. Negotiations should not pit worker against worker.
We remain concerned that as yet there appears to be no satisfactory negotiated resolution which means that balloting has happened and industrial action will occur from 6am this morning for a week.