Fired and Rehired: Shropshire Council SACKS 6,500 Workers

All 6,500 Shropshire County Council employees have been sent 90 – day redundancy notices last week, informing them that from the 1st October this year, they will effectively be fired and rehired on dramatically reduced terms and conditions, including a 5.4% pay cut and the withdrawal of sick pay and holiday benefits.

The vicious and draconian proposals echo those which have been proposed have attracted wide-spread criticism from many, including Tory councillor and former Mayor of Shrewsbury David Farmer, who has called on Council Leader Keith Barrow and Chief Executive Kim Ryley to resign “for sending such letters.” The proposals will affect every single worker at the council, and many believe they will be as much as £3000 worse off each year.

Alan James, branch secretary of Shrewsbury UNISON, has said of the proposals: “The plans put forward by the Tory council, led by Leader Keith Barrow and Chief Executive Kim Ryley, represent an unprecedented attack on council staff. The council claims that this is the only way to save enough money to stop compulsory redundancies, but we know they have already earmarked £13million of taxpayers’ money for a “rainy day” slush fund. We believe that these attacks are unnecessary as it is clear that the council have the resources to offer us a much better deal. The real purpose of these proposals is to undermine the terms and conditions of council workers and make us more attractive to private sector vultures such as SERCO Group. Our members are simply not prepared to accept these proposals and we are intending to ballot for industrial action.”

Chief Executive of the council, Kim Ryley, will be well known to anyone from Hull. Before becoming the first full-time Chief Executive ever at Shropshire County Council, he was one of the highest paid local government officials in the country, when he held the position of Chief Executive at Hull City Council, earning in excess of £200,000 per year and overseeing huge spending cuts.

Given that this tactic has also been used recently in Southampton, it is clear that the tactic of “fire and rehire” is one that we can expect other councils to employ in the future. This disgraceful treatment of public sector workers cannot be allowed to take place, and the entire trade union movement, in both the public and private sector, should offer solidarity and support to council workers in Shropshire, Southampton and anywhere else that these proposals are put forward. Council workers did not cause this crisis – they should not be made to pay for it with their hard won terms and conditions.

Sam Morecroft, GMB

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About shropshirenssn

Welcome to the blog of Shropshire National Shop Stewards Network (S-NSSN). The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) was initiated by the RMT transport union, and launched at it's first national conference in July 2007. It is now also supported nationally by CWU, PCS, NUM, POA and the NUJ. There have now been five further conferences, which have seen the NSSN go from strength to strength with regional and local networks springing up across the country. S-NSSN has been initiated by local trade union reps, and rank and file activists in June 2011. Organising mutual solidarity when trade unions are in dispute will be at the heart of our work. We will also share information to develop ways of successfully resisting attacks on our union rights, jobs, pay, conditions and pensions. We aim to build a movement that can help sweep the anti-union laws off the books and make them inoperable in the meantime. Bringing new blood into our movement is vital so the NSSN will encourage younger workers, agency and migrant workers to join their unions, organise in their workplaces and become reps themselves. Full membership of the NSSN is open to all elected trade union reps who are not national paid full-time officials: so if you are a shop steward, local rep, branch official, health and safety rep, trades council delegate or union learning rep, your place is in the NSSN as well as your own union. Of course, ALL union members are welcome to attend our meetings. The NSSN does not interfere in internal trade union business, but seeks to strengthen confidence, democracy and accountability at all levels of all our unions. We seek affiliations from all official trade union bodies, from local branches to national unions. We seek the co-operation and support of local trades union councils in building our network. In turn the NSSN can help revitalise dying trades councils and help to start new ones by putting known workplace reps in a town or city in touch with one another. Please contact us via the blog or by email: shropshirenssn@gmail.com to get involved in the network!
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One Response to Fired and Rehired: Shropshire Council SACKS 6,500 Workers

  1. Absolutely shocking and disgusting tactics being done by the council, I can’t believe it is happening in Southampton as well. I’m sure there is more of this to come and we can’t stand for it

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