A COUNCIL was accused of “playing Scrooge” yesterday with a plan to axe sick pay for the first three days that workers are off.
Hillingdon Council’s proposal is an attempt to save money, but union GMB branded it “an affront to its hard-working employees.”
GMB senior organiser Keith Williams also accused the west London local authority of double standards, pointing out that it had spent £215,000 on lawyers in the year to August to oppose the expansion of Heathrow airport.
The council also managed to find £602,860 for anti-Heathrow lobbying between January 2007 and December 2014, while cutting budgets for services and carrying out restructuring to cut jobs. “This is double standards at its worst,” said Mr Williams. “It’s OK for the council to channel public money into the pockets of lawyers to fund a political campaign, but it’s not OK to pay workers for three days [when they] are too ill to go to work.
He suggested it was “no coincidence” that the council’s proposals had been put forward in advance of the local government employers tabling a formal two-year pay offer to the trade unions in the sector.
“So much for the season of goodwill,” Mr Williams added. “This is a classic case of bah humbug — the national employers offering a pay increase in one hand and Hillingdon Council playing Scrooge and proposing to take it back in the other so that loyal and dedicated staff who are unable to attend work due to sickness can self-finance the offer from next April.”
A Hillingdon Council spokesman said: “We are currently consulting on these proposals with our employee forum which includes both staff and trade union representatives, including GMB who represent less than 5 per cent of our workforce.”