UNISON will fight to save perks

September 27, 2012 6:30 PM

When Labour was swept to power in Hull last year, the new leader of the council, Cllr Steve Brady, said he would be entering into negotiations with the unions over staff terms and conditions. As we highlighted in a report last year, staff benefit from very generous mileage rates of 65p per mile, and this was one area Cllr Brady hoped to save money.

During a full council meeting in July last year, deputy leader, Cllr Darren Hale, spoke about a reduction in mileage claims which he said would save the authority £1.4 million a year. In October last year it was revealed that not only are staff benefiting from generous rates of 65p per mile, but staff can also claim a petrol allowance on top of the mileage allowance of up to 11.3p per mile. A month later, Cllr Brady reassured us that talks with the unions were nearing a climax.

Despite many promises, nothing has changed, and now UNISON branch secretary, Adrian Kennett, has said his union will not join a “race to the bottom” as council managers prepare to renegotiate “generous” terms and conditions in an effort to save millions. He also went on to say his union had been asking council leaders to come forward with money-saving proposals since October last year. "Had they responded, there could have already been significant savings made", he said.

So despite assurances from Cllr Brady that negotiations were nearing a climax, UNISON claim they haven't received any proposals. Although Mr Kennett is correct to say significant savings could have been made, he is prepared for a fight. A mileage rate of 65p per mile, plus a petrol allowance, is unheard of in the private sector, but he thinks reducing it to 45p per mile is unacceptable as "comparisons with cut-throat private sector and cowboy providers are demeaning and unnecessary."

Does he live in the real world? Paying staff HMRC approved mileage rates should not be controversial. It certainly isn't a race to the bottom, and is something UNISON should accept. Let the negotiations begin!

 When Labour was swept to power in Hull last year, the new leader of the council, Cllr Steve Brady, said he would be entering into negotiations with the unions over staff terms and conditions. As we highlighted in a report last year, staff benefit from very generous mileage rates of 65p per mile, and this was one area Cllr Brady hoped to save money.

During a full council meeting in July last year, deputy leader, Cllr Darren Hale, spoke about a reduction in mileage claims which he said would save the authority £1.4 million a year. In October last year it was revealed that not only are staff benefiting from generous rates of 65p per mile, but staff can also claim a petrol allowance on top of the mileage allowance of up to 11.3p per mile. A month later, Cllr Brady reassured us that talks with the unions were nearing a climax.

Despite many promises, nothing has changed, and now UNISON branch secretary, Adrian Kennett, has said his union will not join a “race to the bottom” as council managers prepare to renegotiate “generous” terms and conditions in an effort to save millions. He also went on to say his union had been asking council leaders to come forward with money-saving proposals since October last year. "Had they responded, there could have already been significant savings made", he said.

So despite assurances from Cllr Brady that negotiations were nearing a climax, UNISON claim they haven't received any proposals. Although Mr Kennett is correct to say significant savings could have been made, he is prepared for a fight. A mileage rate of 65p per mile, plus a petrol allowance, is unheard of in the private sector, but he thinks reducing it to 45p per mile is unacceptable as "comparisons with cut-throat private sector and cowboy providers are demeaning and unnecessary."

Does he live in the real world? Paying staff HMRC approved mileage rates should not be controversial. It certainly isn't a race to the bottom, and is something UNISON should accept. Let the negotiations begin!

 

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