B’ham Council using living-wage pledge to DEDUCT income from low-paid

bham workers

BCC employees

Birmingham City Council (BCC) – a Labour-run council in name only – has a record of abominable treatment of its low-paid workers.

Recently the council leader resigned after a series of SKWAWKBOX exclusives revealed the fully-authorised deal he had done with the Unite union, under the auspices of Acas, on behalf of refuse collectors who had been threatened with a huge pay-cut. The council’s response to the revelation that they had reneged on a formal deal was, shamefully, to issue unlawful redundancy notices to well over a hundred ‘leading hand’ workers vital to the safe operation of refuse lorries.

Then, when judges dismissed their legal argument, the council wrote a threatening letter to the workers saying that if it succeeds in overturning the resulting injunction, the time spent in court would be deducted from their redundancy notice period.

A new scandal

The latest scandal to hit the council involved a cynical assault on the very lowest-paid of its workers: BCC is exploiting a living-wage pledge to cut the income of its lowest-paid staff.

Because of BCC’s current freeze on incremental pay progression, it agreed to pay a ‘non-consolidated’ lump sum (NLS) to its staff in lieu of any increment. This year, that NLS was a minimum of £377 – more for higher grades, with some receiving a thousand pounds or more.

The official salary of the council’s lowest-paid workers is £15,807.00 – below the living wage. To fulfil the council’s living-wage pledge, it pays those staff a ‘living-wage supplement’ that brings their salary to the recognised living wage of £16,082 a year.

The NLS works by calculating the difference between a worker’s current pay and what the council terms the next ‘spinal point’. For the lowest workers, the next spinal point is £16,144.

To claw back cash, the council has been deducting the living-wage supplement from the NLS, or in numeric terms: deducting 16,082 from 16,144.

This means that BCC’s lowest-paid employees – who earn a paltry wage of around £8.30 an hour – receive only £61 NLS in total – while higher-paid employees who don’t need a living-wage supplement receive a minimum of £377.

The council has used this weasel-mathematics to claim that it is fulfilling both its obligation to pay the living wage and to pay the non-consolidated lump-sum. The move affects thousands of employees.

beckett tuc

Unite’s Howard Beckett

Howard Beckett, Unite’s acting regional lead, told the SKWAWKBOX:

Yet again we have a supposedly-Labour council targeting the poorest among its employees for the harshest treatment. This action against its lowest-paid employees brings further shame on a council that has already disgraced itself by going back on a firm deal and threatening its employees. Some of the people involved in these decisions are making huge salaries and are showing complete contempt for the realities faced by my members and other employees on low incomes.

The decision-makers

The SKWAWKBOX has also obtained paperwork showing the salary bands of senior BCC staff – some of whom are imposing draconian pay-cuts on low-paid colleagues while they face no pay-cuts themselves – in fact, according to BCC’s 2017/18 ‘Pay Policy Statement‘, they received an increase on 1 April this year. They make bleak reading.

Stella Manzie, the interim chief executive receives c. £180,000Jacqueline Kennedy, Corporate Director, Place receives £140,000. BCC’s Human Resources director receives £100,000 while assistant directors in the finance functions receive £85,000.

None of them need to worry about a few hundred pounds in non-consolidated bonuses. To thousands of the council’s employees, a few hundred pounds is an enormous amount.

Or it would be, if they were not being deprived of it.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

13 responses to “B’ham Council using living-wage pledge to DEDUCT income from low-paid

  1. Pingback: B’ham Council using living-wage pledge to DEDUCT income from low-paid | Hercules space·

  2. I think there have been internal struggles between left and right within the local party / parties around there. Was given a flier about this at conference but unfortunately don’t have it any more so can’t give more detail. Does anyone reading this know any more?

    Like

  3. Pingback: B’ham Council using living-wage pledge to DEDUCT income from low-paid | SidLabour·

  4. Pingback: B’ham Council using living-wage pledge to DEDUCT income from low-paid – The SKWAWKBOX | Britain Isn't Eating·

  5. Pingback: “B’ham council using living-wage pledge to deduct income from low-paid” | The Skwawkbox | BOYCIE'S BLOGS: REINFORCING THE UK'S NEED FOR AN ANTI-TORY/DUP REVOLUTION·

  6. Pingback: B’ham Council using living-wage pledge to DEDUCT income from low-paid – The SKWAWKBOX – leftwingnobody·

  7. Astounded at this news especially when it involves a Labour council. Whilst the tories are doing their best to undermine the Labour movement with their cuts to public service budgets this council seems to be as ruthless to lower paid workers. Wonder what JC’s opinion of this sad state would be

    Like

  8. A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS, THAT THOSE, DOING THEIR JOBS, GET PENALISED, BY A LABOUR RUN COUNCIL!
    BENT ON DOING THE TORIES WORK!
    ARE THEY ALIENS?
    HAVE THEY BEEN DROPPED FROM SPACE BY A BLUE FAR RIGHT CIVILISATION?
    THAT EATS THEIR YOUNG, DESTROYS HUMANITY, ALL BEFORE MOVING ON WITH ALL THE SPOILS!
    IF ONLY, IT WAS SO SIMPLE!
    THE ENEMY, IS AMONG US, IN DISGUISE, WEARING OUR COLOURS!
    THEY NEED TO BE OUSTED, AS SOON AS!
    IF THERE’S ANY JUSTICE, LET IT BE SO!

    Like

  9. If we want to see change in such “Labour” councils, we collectively – you and me – have to start challenging these people. We have to cone forward for selection to stand for these posts. The County Councils are the last great bastion of “centrist” unreformed Labourites. In fact “we” need to start relearning how to act collectively in support of our workers, our oppressed and ourselves. Its a slog, its hard and it means rolling up sleeves and getting on with the job, and not just wishing it were different.

    Like

  10. Pingback: Bin strike CEO’s extraordinary ‘let them eat cake’ email to staff | The SKWAWKBOX·

  11. Pingback: Birmingham Council cutting bin worker pay – pays chauffeur for council leader | The SKWAWKBOX·

  12. Pingback: We’re ruffling the right feathers. Please support the SKWAWKBOX | The SKWAWKBOX·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s