Thomas Bridge 19 April 2013

Unite: Bromley ‘blackmailing’ staff to accept lower pay

Bromley LBC has ‘blackmailed’ staff to sign inferior contracts or face joblessness, a trade union has said.

Trade union Unite has claimed over 500 workers at Bromley are being told they will face unemployment unless they sign a new contract with lower pay and inferior conditions by 23 April.

Bromley LBC has denied claims that the local authority plans to dismiss staff on 23 April, adding that 84% of staff have accepted a new local contract which maintains terms and conditions for two years.

Unite warned that the new contracts could force a low paid workforce into poverty, consequently damaging the local economy.

Unite regional officer, Onay Kasab, said: ‘The threat to sack these workers by the close of play on Tuesday 23 April unless they sign the new contracts (or face the so-called “dismissal and re-engagement” process) smacks of blackmail.

‘Workers should not be penalised for valiantly upholding the principle and reality of agreements negotiated nationally.’

Responding to the claims, a council spokesperson said: ‘There are good reasons why the council is implementing local terms and conditions.

‘Given the changing face of local authorities we believe local control will give greater emphasis to local circumstances and improve the council’s ability to recruit and retain the right staff, and reward committed, hard working, exceptional performers through challenging times.’

The council said that over 50 consultations have been held with staff and their representatives on the proposals, while the statutory 45-day consultation would be undertaken to mitigate needs for dismissal.

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