Sunderland Council workers reject changes to pay and conditions

Sunderland Civic Centre.

Sunderland Civic Centre.

10
Have your say

Sunderland City Council workers have rejected planned changes to pay and conditions.

Unison members have voted not to accept the council’s Workforce Transformation Proposals.

Diane Peacock of Unison with the unopened ballot papers prior to pour count.

Diane Peacock of Unison with the unopened ballot papers prior to pour count.

Sixty per cent of members voted in the ballot, and rejected the proposals by a majority of more than two to one.

Unison branch secretary Diane Peacock said: “We have a strong and clear mandate from our members and we will be meeting with the employer this week to insist that they scrap these proposals and start the exercise afresh.

“No one can say this is not a democratic and representative outcome and exercise.

“The council have a serious problem and we are willing to negotiate a solution with them but they must be willing to play their part in finding that solution.”

The council will need to begin meaningful negotiations with the unions and genuinely involve the workforce via their unions if they want to put this matter right.

Regional Unison organiser John McDade

Unison balloted almost 3,500 members affected by the proposals.

Regional organiser John McDade said: “This is a massive return for this type of ballot, and there is no ambiguity – our members have said loud and clear that the council have got it badly wrong.

“The council will need to begin meaningful negotiations with the unions and genuinely involve the workforce via their unions if they want to put this matter right.”

Sue Stanhope, director of human resources and organisational development at Sunderland City Council, said: “Council representatives are due to meet the three trade unions GMB, Unison and Unite, on Thursday morning to receive the official results of the unions’ Workforce Transformation ballots.

“Informally we understand that a majority of GMB members voted in favour but a majority of both Unison and Unite members voted against the proposals.

“This would mean the council cannot conclude a collective agreement with the three unions and there will therefore will be a period of uncertainty while next step options are considered.”

A report will be presented to Human Resource Committee and Cabinet meetings on August 27, to decide on next steps.