‘Strike’ ruled out in ballot by 19 to 1

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COUNCIL workers have voted overwhelmingly against taking industrial action over cuts to redundancy pay.

Unison branch members were balloted after councillors changed the compensation terms from 104 weeks actual salary to 52 weeks, capped at £500 a week.

Only about one in 20 of the union’s total memberhip were willing to support industrial action after solicitors advised that there was no possibility of a legal challenge to the changes.

In a letter to members, Unison branch secretary Gary Firth said the union had worked hard to negotiate the 52-week deal which might otherwise have been as little as 30 weeks.

He said the result of the consultative ballot was conclusive with only six per cent of the total membership willing to support industrial action.

“A clear indication that the majority do not wish to fight on and the branch therefore has not option but to bring the matter to a close,” he said.

Calderdale Calderdale Council approved the changes to the redundancy scheme after being told that it was out of step with just about every other council.

As a result, all 4,500 employees were told last month that they would be sacked last and were offered there jobs back under the revised terms and conditions, which will come into effect on April 17.

The council’s deputy leader, Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said the changes were necessary because of the scale of the spending cuts the council was facing and that there was a direct trade off between the generosity of the council’s redundancy scheme and the number of job losses which had to be made.

The change means an end to bumper payouts which have seen senior staff leaving in the past three years with an average of £66,000 a head.