Union in work to rule council vote

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COUNCIL bosses have challenged union chiefs to come up with a “viable” alternative to its cost cutting plans – after members voted to take industrial action in protest to cuts to jobs and services.

Unison members who work at Lincolnshire County Council voted by a two-thirds majority to “work to rule” in protest against cuts to jobs and services.

A total of 68.5 per cent voted in favour of working to rule, meaning workers will stop working overtime and doing additional duties and will insist on proper rest breaks.

Branch secretary John Sharman said, “Unison members have made it clear throughout that they will not take the cuts lying down. The work to rule will be a massive managerial headache for the county council.

“The council relies on the good will of its staff – this vote says that goodwill has been lost.”

In January we revealed that 818 people, doing 607 “full time equivalent” jobs, would face compulsory or voluntary redundancy, with the council facing up to having to find £125million by 2015.

More than 800 people are already working to rule in Adult Social Care.

David O’Connor, executive director for performance and governance, said: “Despite the council engaging with the trade unions throughout our restructure process, they have put no viable alternative proposals forward on how the council’s much reduced budget should be allocated.

“The trade unions feel job losses should only occur through natural wastage and voluntary means, and the council has already managed vacancies over the past few years.

“Not filling posts has saved the authority around £6 million, however, we are currently in a situation where, because of front-loading of grant reductions, we need to save £57 million this year alone.”

Unison members also voted not to strike, with only 35.3 per cent voting to walk out.

Mr Sharman added: “The fact that over a third of voters do want to strike sends out a clear message for the future. Lincolnshire simply does not have a history of local strikes, so although we haven’t got a majority this time, a marker has been set down.”

The council said the action in Adult Social Care has had little impact on services and it hopes it will be the same with the wider action.

It says its final proposals will be published on May 23 and that the work to rule plan is “premature”.