Union calls for an end to 'sign or be sacked' policy
UNISON has called on council leader David Phillips to personally stop the 'sign or sacked policy' in an ongoing row over pay and conditions reform.
Last month Swansea Council said it would be pressing ahead with Single Status changes, with letters sent out to workers inviting them to accept the offer — or face the prospect of them being dismissed.
Now union leaders have asked Mr Phillips to stop the policy, claiming some workers such as newly-qualified social workers stand to lose as much as £4,000.
However, the council's deputy leader has dismissed this claim as untrue, labellng Unison's response as "macho posturing and scaremongering".
Unison branch secretary, Mike Davies stated "We have had examples where staff who are Newly Qualified Social Workers were told their pay rate in February, and received letters a few weeks ago asking them to sign to accept, only two days later receiving further letters informing them that their pay was to be cut by nearly £4,000.
"These staff feel betrayed and it would not surprise me if they felt like leaving. This in turn puts pressure on the remaining social workers who will face heavier workloads. The danger of this being that the council in such areas as child care could be placed in special measures again."
Nicky Symonds, senior Unison convener, said: "The council in sending letters have been extremely intimidating to these employees and is causing them extreme distress."
However, the council's deputy leader, Christine Richards, said: "We wanted to avoid a slanging match with Unison but I'm fed up with their latest macho posturing and scaremongering.
"The claims that people are facing the sack is alarmist and untrue. Newly-qualified social workers are not losing £4,000, they are staying on the same pay.
They are staying on the same pay and their £4,000 'proficiency' addition will be paid as normal when it was supposed to be as it is not connected to Single Status.
"We've spent 12 years negotiating with the unions, but we've now reached the point where we have to implement Single Status.
"Single Status is costing the council and the taxpayers of Swansea £32m at a time when we're facing huge financial cuts. 82 per cent of all staff are either gaining pay or staying on the same basic pay.
Single Status is a national initiative which all public sector employers have to implement with the aim of introducing a common pay scale for jobs of equal value, regardless of gender.