Strike action ballot over Northamptonshire County Council conditions

Northamptonshire County Council's County Hall
Northamptonshire County Council's County Hall

Unison is to press ahead with a ballot for strike action in response to an “imposition of inferior terms and conditions on staff”.

Union leaders claim Northamptonshire County Council has angered staff by freezing pay increments, ending national pay bargaining, slashing sick pay support and planning to take up to four days pay off staff each year.

Unison believes staff will be financially subsidising council services.

Branch secretary Steve Bennett said: “The imposed sick scheme will not save the council money but will devastate staff who are ill longer-term.

“We fear that ending national conditions signals that staff will face further cuts to terms.

“Councils elsewhere are not doing this despite budget pressures.

“There are no guarantees that these permanent contractual changes will prevent further job cuts and staff are right to reject them.”

If members vote in favour of action, the union said it will consider both strike action and longer-term ‘working to rule’ action if a joint collective agreement cannot be reached.

Cuts to terms follow a reduction in the council workforce from 8,088 staff in June 2011 to about 5,609 by September 2012.

Mr Bennett added: “Unison is open to further talks to resolve this dispute.

“Staff are busting a gut to keep services running but the employer rewards them with worse terms.

“We should be concentrating our efforts on fixing corporate failings in children services and I urge the council to return to talks and withdraw from imposing new terms.”

Council staff employed directly by school governors, such as school office staff and teaching assistants, are not part of the current action.