Fat Cat Councillors and Officers Branded Hypocrites as Leeds Refuse Collection Strike Continues

8 Sep 2009

Public service unions GMB and UNISON today accused councillors and officers in Leeds City Council of “gross hypocrisy” as their members take strike action to oppose massive cuts in their pay.

The Council wants to cut average wages for Streetscene workers from £18,000 to £13,000 under the guise of creating equal pay across the authority.

When asked in a live broadcast if councillors should take a cut in their allowances, Council leader Richard Brett said the payments were “modest”, amounting to around £14,500 a year and that councillors could not be compared to the MPs exposed in the expenses scandal.

In fact Coun Brett was paid £45,883 last year from the public purse with other Councillors pocketing between £14,000 and £36,000 in the same period.

In the same year senior Council officers enjoyed pay rises of up to £12,000 a year.

Brian Mulvey, Leeds Branch Secretary of UNISON said : “The people of Leeds have heard Coun Brett say our members in Streetscene are “well paid” and that cutting their wages by a third is justifiable.

“These workers brave all weathers to perform some of the most physically demanding jobs in the city and many stand to lose their houses if these massive pay cuts are inflicted on them.

“For a politician who draws more than twice the average national wage from the Council every year for working part-time to tell them that these cuts are in any way fair or justifiable is astoundingly hypocritical.”

Desiree Risebury, the GMB’s Regional Organiser, said that senior Council officers were on huge salaries and had been granted additional pay rises in the past year of up to £12,000 – almost as much as the basic pay of refuse collectors.

She said: “Chief Executive Paul Rogerson’s salary went up last year from £186,355 to £191,467, his deputy Dave Page’s salary rose from £153,000 to £157,000 and the Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods, Neil Evans, enjoyed a massive £15,000 rise, from £117,679 to £132,593. These are fat cat salaries.”

“These are some of the people responsible for imposing pay cuts of a third on people earning just £18,000 or less. It is outrageous. Let them eat cake appears to be their philosophy.”

The unions say the public needs to know the truth about pay within the Council and how a sizeable part of their Council Tax bills goes towards huge salaries for senior officers and lavish allowances for councillors.

They can then judge for themselves if the striking cleansing staff are justified in standing up and fighting just to retain their current pay levels.

For further information contact Brian Mulvey on 0113 2458442 on and Desiree Risebury on: 07958 156848