On 1st October the council plans to introduce new contracts for staff who have to work weekends, cutting pay rates for Saturday working by 33%. The council says Saturday should now be regarded as a “normal working day”. In addition there will also be changes to allowances for working at night.
The workers who were balloted included library assistants, residential care staff at the Vinney Green Secure Unit for Children at Emersons Green, care assistants and other staff in the two local authority elderly people’s homes, and civic enforcement officers.
The council has said that the move followed a lengthy review which included feedback from trade unions, service managers and staff consultations, and that like all local authorities, it is facing” intense financial pressures”.
UNISON argues that for many staff, the cuts will be up to 10% of their total wages and some will have more to lose, depending on work patterns.
Huw Williams, South Gloucestershire UNISON branch secretary, said: “The results of this industrial action ballot show the depth of anger our members feel at having a massive reduction in their wages.”
UNISON says all these groups earn significantly below national average earnings and are already facing massive reductions in real living standards due to having only received a single 1% pay rise during the last four years.
Dates and details for planned industrial action have not yet been announced.