GMB Response to Sheffield City Council Pay & Grading Letters

12 Oct 2009

GMB is disgusted at the fact that this Lib Dem Council can callously threaten to sack its entire workforce if they do not sign to accept their new terms and conditions of employment within the next few weeks. 25% of the work-force will be losing out significantly under these new proposals.  The Lib Dems have instructed the Council to kick start their bullying campaign and the threatening letter goes out in today’s post. Workers will be summoned to 1 to 1 meetings and pushed into signing the new terms and conditions over the coming weeks. Unions will be by-passed in this process, indeed the actual wording of today’s letter was not even disclosed to us until late Thursday afternoon. In the Council letter John Mothersole (CE) states that   “for those employees who do not accept the new pay, terms and conditions at this stage (he’s referring to the end of their notice period), then the dismissal will apply and their employment will end and pay cease”.

The Council knows that it makes no difference legally whether they sign or not, by simply turning up for work once they have given notice that the new terms and conditions exist, implies acceptance, albeit without formal agreement. This bullying tactic will however enable the Lib Dems to justify their actions when the majority of the workers do sign. The fact that they’ve been bullied into it is an irrelevance in Lib Dem land. The GMB will of course fight this and we are asking our members not to sign until we advise accordingly.

We will put the Council’s offer to our members over the next few days in a ballot, along with our conclusions and view of what the offer means across the entire piece. We will also start the process of equal pay litigation because in our view the new terms are riddled with potential equal pay claims. We’ll campaign for a rejection of the offer but we are under no illusions as to whether this will have any affect on this Lib Dem administration.

The Council is pressing ahead with this mess and we’ll do whatever we can to support our members through it. The letter that the Council is sending out, its threatening tone and indeed its poor grammar, will speak volumes to our workforce. I only hope that when the workers, their families and their friends go to the ballot box next year it has a positive effect on the elections.”