Just before the last local elections a prominent member of staff told me that they didn’t think there would be any difference between a Conservative Administration and Labour when it came to H&F Council’s employees’ terms and conditions. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Since the local elections H&F Conservatives has sought to cut some front line staff wages by up to 50 per cent - while giving themselves 18 per cent and 14 per cent salary rises in the respective last two years. The Council has dogmatically transferred jobs to private contractors, despite it being proven not to be best value in street cleaning, refuse collection and many other essential services. Now this October, H&F Council has issued redundancy notices to 4,283 staff with a view to re-employing them on very different terms and conditions.
H&F Council is now set to cut maternity pay, it hopes to cut dependency leave and is extending working hours to 7.30am - 8.00pm. Staff rightly feel let down. Many of these new initiatives will most harshly affect women. One noticeable consequence to all this has been that morale has dropped and service levels (that have already been cut financially) will now undoubtedly be affected even further.
I have always believed that it is an employer’s responsibility to pay people fairly and manage them professionally. The new deal being offered by H&F Conservatives means that, at the very least, the Council is set to badly fail the first of these criteria.