Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Workers hit out at Stirling Council's 'bully boy' tactics as they are told work longer for less.. or be sacked

A LABOUR-RUN council have been accused of acting like “bullies” after threatening to sack all staff unless they agree to poorer pay and conditions.

Stirling Council workers staged a one-day strike yesterday after the local authority tried to scare them into taking a pay cut and working a longer week.

The council, run by a Labour–Tory ­coalition, have proposed a 0.5 per cent pay cut across the board and an additional hour of work per week.

But Unison say it’s a 1.5 per cent pay cut compared to council staff in the rest of Scotland, who narrowly accepted a one per cent pay rise.

And they say the extra hours add up to 7.5 days of work a year – meaning workers have to swallow an effective pay cut of 4.5 per cent.

Last week, staff were sent a letter by chief executive Bob Jack demanding they accept the new pay and conditions or find a job elsewhere.

The letter, sent to all 3000 employees, said: “If you do not accept the council’s offer of employment under the enclosed statement of particulars, the council gives you formal notice that your employment will terminate with effect from November 15, 2013.”

The council claim that 40 per cent of staff have signed the forms.

Unison Stirling branch secretary James Douglas said he was consulting lawyers about whether the move was legal.

He added: “In my view, this is bullying and harassment trying to intimidate people to sign up. Some people have accepted the terms and they have told me they did that because they were frightened.

“I have been a Labour member all my life and to see the party involved in this type of practice is ­disappointing to say the least.”

Labour and the Conservatives took control of the council last year, despite the SNP being the largest overall party.

When the Record attempted to contact the Labour leader of the council, Johanna Boyd, Stirling Council’s press office released a statement in the name of chief executive Jack.

He said that because of a cut in funding in real terms from the Scottish Government, along with a council tax freeze, the authority need to find savings of £24 million to balance their budget and the changes would save £2.5million.

Jack demanded proof from the unions that their members had been bullied into signing but had received nothing.

Employees on the two lowest grades, he added, would see an increase in pay following the implementation of the Living Wage at £7.50 an hour.

The SNP’s Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford said: “With only four Tory councillors, it’s clear this coalition is Labour doing their dirty work for them, abandoning all principles the party once had.”

Scots Labour leader Johann Lamont declined to comment. A party spokesman blamed “an underfunded SNP council tax freeze”.

He added: “They took Tory cuts, doubled them and passed them to councils.”

Tris's addition: 

Got any figures to prove that Mr or Ms annon party spokesman? Took the cuts and doubled them? Come on, explain where that calculation comes form?

Maybe if the council had tried cutting out some of the fringes...the celebrations, free bars,  etc. it would have done better.

We take the Tory cuts, you thicko, because there is no choice. They don't negotiate cuts with us; they enforce them upon us. We are trying to keep tax down on people who simply cannot afford to pay it. If councils act responsibly they CAN manage. They simply have to cut out the frills. There are no frills under the Tories. Get rid of the cars, the expenses, the fat salaries at the top, the first class travel...

As for Ms Lamont not being available for comment, isn't it high time she was? Has Ed told her to stay hidden lest she say something vaguely socialist, that might damage his chances with the south east voters?

In my opinion she should encourage the workers to go on strike. It's legitimate, it seems to me.  With inflation for essentials at over 10%, a 4%+ drop in wages is an outrage. To hell with Stirling Council ,guys. Strike. And yes, I'd say that if it were an SNP council too.


  1. So, they were going to sack 3000 council workers? Bit of an empty threat surely?

    I wonder what grades were getting it in the neck, and if the top flight were being protected from cuts? Also, the two lowest bands going onto the living wage is all very well, but even the living wage is a struggle these days.

    1. All excellent questions.

      I'd love to see them sack all the staff. Almost undoubtedly they would be forced to take them all back on.

    2. Actually I disagree. There are so many unemployed that they'd be able to fill the posts especially if they weren't "specialised" roles. Plus the people who didn't sign the new contract would be regarded as having made themselves unemployed and therefore not eligible for benefits.

      Isn't Stirling where next year's "let's celebrate a war starting" event is to be held? Is any of the cost coming from the council budget?

  2. I'm only guessing here you understand but this must be another reason why we're better together, yes?

    I'd suggest that anyone attending this Better Together launch might want to ask Darling and his Muppet entourage one or two questions about this. Unfortunately this PUBLIC meeting is very much a PRIVATE meeting!


    Returning to these atrocious cuts being forced on Stirling's workers by the money grabbing councilors it is obvious to me why they are forcing these pay cuts through. As you might recall, after Labour gained control of Aberdeen council the first thing they did was to INCREASE the pay of councilors quite substantially. It is clear to me that Stirling council have now decided that they must do the same so the workers have to foot the bill for the impending pay rise for the councilors.

    As far as the invisible apparition that is Johann Lamont is concerned, is she still the leader of Labour in Scotland? I thought she had stood down or something. Don't you think it is amazing that both Lamont and Milliband have both been almost totally invisible since their respective places of "work" have gone into recess? I say almost totally invisible but in reality at least Milliband has surfaced, allegedly. He seems to like the old Labour idea of copying others ideas.


    1. Ever heard of a launch that has to be done in secret
      so that we won't know the hall will be empty and only Darling (on our time) and the rest of his parliamentary buddies will be there instead of doing the constituency and parliamentary work he is paid to do.

      I suppose they keep her hidden on the basis that she is less of an embarrassment if people neither see nor hear her.

    2. As for bringing that shower to Scotland... Cameron has already announced that ploy to make us feel included. It doesn't. All it does is increase our costs protecting them as well as our own government.

      Does he go for a pee when Mr Cameron goes for a pee, or is he capable of independent thought?

    3. Does he go for a pee when Mr Cameron goes for a pee, or is he capable of independent thought?

      Oh come on now Tris you KNOW very well Milliband is INCAPABLE of any independent thought!

    4. Well, erm, the mind boggles...

      And now we should pass to something more tasteful...

      Anyone seen Mr Pickles recently> Apparently he's told all councils in England they must build more bungalows and he's more or less sent tham plans of what the bungalows should look like. That should make for interesting and diverse towns in England... not to mention make a bit of a mockery of the Tories much vaunted "localism".

      It's nothing to do with the subject by it managed to get my mind of the fat Eton boy and Milibean minimus.

  3. chief executive Bob Jack
    Labour leader of the council, Johanna Boyd

    How much are these two getting in Monthly salary and how much will their pension be.

    1. Bet there is no reduction there.

      Labour councils reducing already pathetic wages even farther.

      Shame Labour ...Shame.

      The first thing in a financial crisis is to cut all the frills.

      I bet they haven't

      If you have to cut salaries you must do so at the top. people on £100,000 a year can afford to lose something. People on £16,000 can't. A cut in the money only means they rely on benefits and become scroungers in the Tory book.

  4. tris

    One day you say the 70s were bad due to trade unions having
    too much power and behaving irresponsibly
    (Thatcher was right on crushing trade unions you say )

    the next day standing on yer head you incite strike action against the
    evil bosses err a Labour a Labour council.
    Happy you are to see people lose there jobs and be thrown on the dole
    just to try to score a political point for the snp.

    Then you assert badly

    ' We are trying to keep tax down on people who simply cannot afford to pay it. '

    hmm! for those who can but under the snp misrule do not have pay
    And ordinary council workers have to make up for the snp taking from the poor
    to bribe the rich to vote for them.
    The very group who as every opinion poll shows are 100% for keeping
    Scotland within the union.

    Good tactic there !

    1. OK First point NIKO. There is a difference about going on strike because the toilet paper isn't soft enough, or because someone was told off for being away from their post for 1/2 an hour, or because they disapprove of the bosses getting china cups when they have to have mugs...

      ...and what is happening here.

      In the 1970s the unions were running the country. They struck as and when they pleased, sometimes for no apparent reason. They were often run in the workplace by a clique; no one else went to the meetings because they were all anoraks, who listened to no one.

      Now we are talking about people having their wages cut. Why is it this council can't cope with the reduced amount of money?

      What are they doing with it?

      How many trips abroad have their been? How many vanity projects. Councils in hard times should run the services at the lowest possible cost, and no one should have to take reductions in pay. This isn't about soft or hard toilet paper, or carbolic soap versus Camay. This is about them taking people's money away and making them work longer hours.

      There are things the real unions fought for. They have my backing for sensible fights like this.

      I haven't a clue what you are talking about in the second part. I do know that we wanted to have an income tax to pay for local services.


      If you wear a lot of money, you pay a lot. if you do not, you pay less. if you have almost nothing, you pay nothing.

      A pensioner, currently paying "£1000 a year" would pay about £20 a year.


      But you voted against it. You thought it was fair that someone with around £9500 a year income from pensions living in a small flat with one bedroom should pay about £100 income tax and £1000 in poll tax.

      Not fair.

      I don;t care if council workers are 100% for the union. What Stirling is doing is unfair and wrong.

      Sack a few top executive with sod all to do. Stop the drinks and travel budget. Scrap all entertaining budgets. Find cheaper ways of heating the offices, encourage home working.

      Or, of course, vote for independence and rid ourselves of this idiotic government that simply will NOT take money from the super rich, even though a huge amount of it has been stolen from the taxpayer.

      There are loads of ways of saving money.

      Don't go to war with Syria; come back immediately from Afghanistan; don't celebrate the beginning of a war; scrap trident; tell the Royal family to live in ONE palace; and to pay for their own weddings; scrap the House of lords; scrap MPs expenses; reduce MPs salaries to the average wage; get rid of all the servants in the palaces, parliament etc, and teach the Queen how to make a cup of tea.

      I could go on all night. But no, The Tories want us to take money from poor people.

      And I say F off.

    2. tris

      And your inaccurate diatribe concerning the 1970s er umm your evidence
      if you could be pleased.

      Seems to me you hate the 1970s dont you ??????

      here is a song from the 70s which encapsulates the snp strategy
      to dislodge the Labour party from the affection and loyalty of the good
      decent Scottish patriot.

    3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzTeLePbB08

    4. You have some really twisted logic going on in your ex labour head Niko.

      Scargill used the union members for his own superior arrogance in attacking Thatcher head on playing into her game of dismantling all union effectiveness forever. Remember how the beeb with some clever editing changed the actual sequence events turning a large section of the public against unions and that continues today as it is embedded in protection of the British state.

      As you appear to wish to retain the British state in its present form then you are complicit in the actions of Stirling Council. I believe that East Lothian council gave £2,000 of council taxpayers money to support their local Better Together group, Labour love abusing other peoples money for political purposes.

    5. Stop rewritting History Niko as it does you no favours whatsoever.

      The best for which we could have hoped was a six-month reprieve before the five-year parliament ended

      Callaghan undermined a devolution for Scotland bill and so they removed their support as any party with any creditability would do not like Labour who tried to get support with bribes of bottles of whisky. Labour never changes corrupt then and corrupt now.

    6. Ah, so you say that it's Labour's right to be in the Scottish parliament as the government. Goodness you sound like mr Bair. it was certainly engineered that way, but even things Mr Blair did went wrong (Alan Michael in Wales, Iraq, Afghanistan, to name but three)

      As for hating the 70s... I'm not sure you can hate years. But gotta say, looking back, the fashion was ghastly; the hair styles laughable; the music often indifferent; and at least in Britain there was a virtual permanent strike going on.

      British Leyland, crap cars, even the nonsense of building these horrid little Hillmans in Scotland and then having to send them to England for assembly.

      Memories of the 1970s....


    7. Not up to me, but if our local council gave them money I'd be kicking up all sorts of hell about it.

      mind you, as it's an SNP council it's unlikely.

    8. Good article CH. Thanks.

      Actually I quite like Roy Hattersley remember sitting with him in Dundee Rep for a performance of ''Les Maladies Imaginaires'' a good few years ago now. He was a good laugh.

  5. Lamont won't be happy when they let her out.
    A Labour council wanting its employees to give 'something for nothing'!

    1. Someone said they had found her.

      She's been squatting where they are going to hold the secret Butter Together Glasgow meeting Shhhhh

      Not even GCHQ knows this... yet.

      PS. I think they just put her back and covered her up again.

  6. Niko.

    Do you think it's right that these council workers have their wages reduced and their hours lengthened?

  7. WWIII will be started in 2013 by the UK and France with the support of America to nullify Syria so that Israel can bomb Iran. The dying British Empire in true hypocritical mode a plague on all there supporters. Eff off NSA.

    1. Has France said it will go in?

      Cameron is on about moral duty which if it didn't involve so many lives would be a real joke considering the number of people he's killing on a weekly basis through his foul policies.

      I hoped that France would say no.

      On the basis that the west will go in, make a mess, tell everyone they've sorted it and go...

      ... leaving behind them the kind of chaos that always ensues when stupid white men think they know best.

      I hate to say it, but London is lucky to get off so lightly with revenge attacks for the millions our pigmy brained leaders have killed playing at being god or in Britain's case, God's assistant...

      At least france knew how to say Non...

    2. The problem in France is unemployment is on the up and sometimes distraction comes to political leaders rescue resulting in catastrophe in the longer term. America supplied chemical weapons and other statistical aid to Iraq in their war against Iran.

      Depleted uranium is used in weapons causing horrendous birth defects in the civilian populations where they are deployed where is the angst against that nowhere.

    3. I think that it depends on the leader. I hoped for more from M Hollande.

      Chirac, for all his faults just told Bush no, but Sarkozy was as much of a creepy little nob as Brown, Blair, Major and the odious individual that the UK now has. I expect he wanted to be America's pet as much as the second raters in Downing Street.

      I reckon that the all think that Maggie and Old Ronnie had the right kind of relationship for President and PM, and they are all trying to emulate it.

  8. Tris

    If this doesn't get the message across to Labour voters that Labour is dead nothing will. Again, as usual, the issue is media coverage. The only thing I heard was the Scottish Government being blamed for the financial mess the council is in, it really is a joke and I hope next year once we are into the meat of the campaign something is done officially regarding media coverage. Some sort of european monitoring because it really is becoming a joke.

    As for the workers most will take the ' offer ' as they are afraid to lose their jobs. They have bills to pay and know that the attacks on the poor and unemployed by the three tory parties could be them. I understand that, I work in the public sector where posts are no longer filled, you are expected to take on more and more work. It really is a timebomb waiting to go off across the whole of the public sector, you can only do so much before you start to get ill. I consider myself luck to work in Dundee where there is at least a recognition that staff are under pressure and you can discuss and plan your work as best possible. I really feel for those workers.


  9. Yes, Bruce. I know that staff are having to take on more.

    I don't like it, but if the money isn't there it simply isn't there.

    The government itself has cut costs massively, and it expected local authorities to do so too.

    I know that the people right at the bottom in this council were not going to lose out, indeed the introduction of what would have been a living wage a few years ago, would help them. And I commend that.

    But there are councils that are managing.

    Somehow they have cut and cut at the frills. I still think there is more frills that they could cut.

    of course no council is FORCED (at least I think I'm right in saying this) to freeze the council tax. The government offers incentives to keep the tax unchanged, but they cannot stop them putting it up.

    I suspect that this is a ploy to embarrass the government by allowing people to think that it is their fault.

    A bit like the blokey at Aberdeen who is spending a fortune to try to prove that the FM broke election rules (by visiting a school, apparently unannounced, walking into a classroom and talking to children without anyone knowing).

    Despite him being cleared by the head of the civil service in Scotland the council leader insists on taking the case to the head of the English civil service because he accuses the head of the Scottish CS of being a pal of Alex adn therefore lying on his behalf.

    The liar of course is the head of the council, who has been given a report by the head teacher of the school saying that she had invited him (of course we know that no one, not even the Queen) can just walk into a school and take over a classroom.

    There is so much tribal hatred going on, and these people are wasting so much money fighting non battles.

    As I said, I'm beginning to dislike this country and its people. Why can't they act like adults. Put the points and leave people to sort it out in their minds and do the best thing for themselves.