Council workers strike – is it justified?

July 16, 2008

(updated with new photo)

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Hundreds of thousands of council workers are striking over pay in the biggest bout of industrial unrest in years.

Members of Unite and Unison are protesting over deals to increase their pay by 2.45 per cent, which is below the rate of inflation and which they say means an effective pay cut.

How are you affected by the strike? Is the council workers’ action justified?


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No. What these people seem to fail to grasp or understand very well and just keep quiet about is that they work a 35 hour week, are impossible to sack and are entitled to a final salary pension.

Nobody in the private sector has access to this level of entitlement any more.

If they want more money they can have their final salary pension removed, work longer hours and be accountable – just like the rest of us.

If not, they can get jobs elsewhere. nobody is forcing them to work for the Council.

Posted by Nick Riley | Report as abusive

Not Justified. This will just raise direct and indirect taxes and inflation. The Public sector is oiverfloated and the last bastion of greedy unions. I suspect we could cull 20% of them and not see any difference to the level of services provided. Unlike the private sector they are backed by assured pensions, mollycuddled with extra holidays and no end of ‘rights’ and benefits that the companies in the real world cannot even sensibly afford without going bust. No sympathy here.

Posted by Ian | Report as abusive

It will help to remove the Labour government from office, so this strike and the others which are bound to follow are actually in the best long term interests of the country. 20 months to go, then the recovery can begin.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

Not justified. Look at the overall picture of their working environment – job security, benefits, pension. Greedy public sector workers getting their snouts in the tax payer funded trough – roll on the revolution.

Posted by Johan | Report as abusive

The reason the private sector has less holiday and pensions is precisely because workers there have been less likely to go on strike to defend them. There’s been a constant series of defeats over the past 30-40 years and we can only hope that this new wave of strike action will mark a turning point against the successive attacks on living and working conditions carried out by both Tory and Labour governments.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Yes. What other people seem to fail to grasp or understand very well and just keep quiet about is that council workers are paid for a 37 hour week but most work more without being paid for the extra hours because overtime is not normally paid and time in lieu is not often granted but the pressure of work is so great that people are expected to work over an above to keep providing the councils services running for it’s customers. Council workers are no longer impossible to sack and why shouldn’t they be entitled to a final salary pension just like other companies with good pension schemes.

People in the private sector get paid for the hours they work and get overtime. They get works meals and xmas parties paid for and bonuses at Xmas etc.

Council workers are always being told to make savings and these usually come in the form of job losses in a section so more work and pressure is put on the staff that are left.

Posted by Wendals | Report as abusive

In the real world we work longer hours, no final pensions, less holidays – that’s why we earn more.

I have no sympathy, on top of my job I’m now having to do their job for them this week UNPAID!

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

Totally justified, the people who create the wealth of society ought to be able to benefit from it. It behoves all workers to stand by the strikers today and realise it could be them tomorrow.

Posted by Tommy | Report as abusive

In a democracy, I believe that anyone is entitled to strike against what they feel is an unfair payscheme, (whether it actually is unfair or not is another issue) but if my rubbish is not collected, and starts to build up, the removal of which my council tax has already (unavoidably?) paid for, under the realms of public hygeine and Health & Safety (rats, disease etc) I will be burning it all, and I will not thank any hippy to start simpering about the resulting smoke affecting the environment – you can’t have it all ways, can you?

Posted by Steve P | Report as abusive

I’m sick of hearing them bleat about how hard they find things and how hard their job is.
How tough can it be for them when they are not on minimum wage!
They get perks for working for the council such as discounts and freebies into council buildings.
They get to retire earlier than the rest of us.
They get a pension that many people won’t get but still have to slave on and pay for the council workers.
Anyone ever seen a bin man after 1pm? I hav’nt and I bet they are still getting paid for a full shift.
They don’t even put a bin back where they find it they just throw it down anywhere.
Their job is easy it ain’t rocket science.
And with this payrise our rates will go up yet again to pay for their greed!

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

I notice the picture of a man and a hand cart and a load of rubbish. This does not happen every day and I can’t remember when the last time I saw a hand cart they just sit in machines all day.
Is the picture so posed to make me feel sorry for them? well it does’nt

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

Absolutely not justified. 2.45% rise is not bad at all and I can’t agree more with what Nick Riley said about those cushy work conditions those council workers are having and Ian about culling 20% of them and not see any difference to the level of service provided. How many professions in the real world have pay rise that match or exceed the inflation rate? So stop holding the public ransom for their greedy demand and get back to work mate!

Posted by William | Report as abusive

The action is entirely justified. Pay and conditions for these workers are a disgrace and i wish them a swift and total victory. If anything, Unison is not going far enough with the demands and tactics.

Posted by Aneeta | Report as abusive

Richard, the photo was taken in May 2008 at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester during the clean-up after the Rangers vs Zenit St Petersburg match. We used this file photo until we got pictures from today’s strike action – not an attempt to make you “feel sorry” for the council workers. I will post some pictures from today shortly.

Posted by Astrid Zweynert | Report as abusive

Yes of course it’s justified. It’s absurd that bosses get huge payoffs and construction companies and banks get bailed out by this government when it was their own fault they got into trouble, while people who work hard and are already being paid sod-all get a pay cut.

Oh and Nick, if you were stupid enough to allow your boss to chop up your final salary pension that’s your lookout, it has nothing to do with this dispute. Rather than whinging about other people’s pension pots, why don’t you do something positive about your own situation?

The bit about hours is simply a broad-brush nonsense, some people may work 35 (and fair play to them, what’s the point of progress if not to reduce everyone’s hours?), but others will work far longer.

Posted by Rob Ray | Report as abusive

These so called workers, who can stop turning up at will to carry out their paid employment , should suffer the same consequences that people working in other sectors would have to endure. Simple, write to every one asking do they want to continue striking, or would they like to carry on with the job that they get paid to do. Obviously reminding them of the nice perks that nearly all of them get . If they continue to strike, sack them. Apparantly there are thousands of jobless that would jump at the chance of gainful employment. Give them the opportunity to work, and the ones that dont want to, wont be in a position to. Unfortunately their union is led by dinasours, who in the past have kept the red flag flying, given power to the people, ranting and raving about their rights. Utter tosh, get rid of the blinkers , and look at the real world we live in.

Posted by B Hunter | Report as abusive

With the rubbish collection every other week this means that some will wait 4, yes four weeks between collections. I am sure the rats and foxes will be pleased

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

As a member of the so called “Greedy public sector workers”, I would like to point out some facts which previous posters are perhaps unaware (or choose to ignore).
Firstly, that this latest pay offer of 2.45% is the tenth annual pay offer below inflation.
Secondly, our pension scheme is not non-contributory. I, like most of my colleagues, pay 6.5% of my pay into the scheme.
Oh, and the retirement age is 65 – not significantly earlier than the private sector I’d have thought?
I work 40-45 hours per week – no overtime pay, so time off in lieu instead.
25 days holiday a year – less than the national average of 28 quoted in the Telegraph.
Local Authority restructuring, outsourcing (joint venture schemes), redundancy and job re-evaluations are the chosen method for employers to shed staff. So no, its not a safe job for life.
Finally, if it was such a cushy number why aren’t we beating applicants off with a stick? My Local Authority, like many, are finding it almost impossible to recruit staff when the private sector is so attractive(?).

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

If it’s that bad why don’t they leave and get another job?

Answer… they mostly have fairly decent salaries considering their abilities, couldn’t get a better job elsewhere if they tried and have quite an easy number working for a local authority.

I hope the government don’t back down on this. It might just remove the only shred of credibility they have left should they do.

Posted by Grant | Report as abusive

Rob Ray my financial situation is fine, but you are completely right, some people do work longer than 35 hours. Unfortunately none of them are council employees.

Posted by Nick Riley | Report as abusive

Its simply ridiculous. Who do these people think they are??
The rest of us are bracing ourselves against a highly likely recession, and those like myself in the construction industry are already struggling to find next months rent. What your not seeing is any of us from the contruction idustry bleeting to the media about how unfair it is, we all know the best thing to do is to hold our heads high and prey that by not panicing, the media can move away from the current doom and gloom, mortgage companies can breathe a sigh of relief, start lending again and get the economy back on track – neglecting the need for 4% pay rises…
Do they ever look at the other side of the fence without the safe guards they are all entitled to?

Posted by Adam | Report as abusive

Best thing the goverment can do is to sack the lot of them,make them self employed and have them work for a living.

Posted by Win Travis | Report as abusive

Well theres a reason for striking , and theres no reason for the strike.its like this , sandwhiches can be nice even without coleslaw or mayonaisse , but who wants plain bread?

Posted by Johnny a gogo | Report as abusive

Apart from a core of office staff, there shouldn’t be any “council workers” in this day and age. Our rubbish was collected as normal today by the private company that has the contract to do so. Their employees are almost certainly paid better than the public sector ones, because they are more productive. They, like me, can’t sit around all day being bone idle like so many public sector workers. I remember having a holiday job as a student in the public sector – I kept being told to slow down by the regulars because I was “working too fast”.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

After working for the last 5 years for a North-West Council (after 32 years in the private sector) let me assure readers my Council colleagues were very reluctant to strike over pay,- most are worried about the effect on the residents they serve. Many work far more than 35 hours a week, with no overtime, bonuses or profit-sharing, which are so common in the Private Sector. They feel they have no choice but to strike, when pay settlements in the past few years have fallen so far short of inflation. Yes, the highest-paid staff (like in all companies) may be onto a winner, with a good pension at the end, but many many more are struggling to make ends meet. May those who criticise us soon know (for themselves) what it is like to struggle on such low pay.

Posted by B White | Report as abusive

In the real world we work longer hours, no final pensions, less holidays – that’s why we earn more.

I have no sympathy, on top of my job I’m now having to do their job for them this week UNPAID!

– Posted by Rob

Actually Rob I used to work in the “real world” was paid for the extra hours I worked, had a final pension and more paid holidays than I do as a Council Employee. Perhaps it’s you that needs to look for a new job. I’m not striking, but am fully supportive of those that are, many of whom are mothers who need term time jobs. They still need to feed their children.

Posted by RKT | Report as abusive

The Rich and Powerful are running away with all the money and have been doing so for some time now. A sea change is required or it will all end in tears.

Posted by William Fowler | Report as abusive

I disagree william fowler , i think the bagettes are plain

Posted by Johnny a gogo | Report as abusive

What NONE of them? From today’s job pages in my local rag, offered by the county or district council:

HGV driver, 40 hours a week. Receptionist, 37 hpw. Casework admin, 37 hpw. In fact, almost none of them are 35 hours, most are 37. Perhaps you’re thinking of La-La Land’s council, I hear they offer 35 across the board…

As to this rest of this anti-strike rubbish, frankly I’m amazed at how reactionary the response on this list has been so far – people are talking like workers get paid according to how hard they work, when in fact working people have been losing money in real terms for years now due to exactly this naive attitude that somehow the ‘bottom line’ is a fair one.

Posted by Rob Ray | Report as abusive

I see comments about bosses being paid off and rescued in private sector business here. That is not relevant to this, it is about the workers. If you want to draw comparisons one of the big four banks has graduates on £13k a year – what does a recycling vehicle operative get? Well in London it is twice that with a non contributory final salary pension whilst the bankworker has to buy his. That is more than I earned as a Senior Manager with a bank before I saw the light and moved on to a better and more caring employer. Even in Berwickshire the bin men earn around £15k pa basic.

On that basis, and as it is those of us who do work in the private sector who have to pay for the ever growing army of civil (and not so civil) servants of all descriptions an inflation busting pay award is most definitely not justified.

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

Perhaps some of your correspondents, who think we have a cushy job, would like to try scraping dead bodies off the floor or cremating human remains. What about toiletting the elderly and disabled.
No, thought not.
Get a life and get behind us. You might need these services one day.

Posted by John Ward | Report as abusive

What most of the posters here fail to realise is that the reason they don’t have some of the meagre benefits of public sector workers is precisely because they aren’t fighting for themselves in the way these workers are at the moment. Rather than begrudge the low paid for fighting against a pay cut why not copy their lead?

By working together we can improve conditions for ALL of us. After all, it’s us who do the work and know how to carry it out, whatever sector we’re in. Like the old saying goes, the boss needs us, we don’t need the boss…

Posted by Mark Social Ecology London | Report as abusive

So let me get this right… if we ALL start striking and demanding higher pay this will all work out?
How? I’m a tad lost.. if we take the corner shop;
The shop assistant demands more money, the owner does what? Pays less rent to balance out? No..he charges more for his goods to off set the risen cost. Consequently, we have just increased inflation yet further.
The only way I see to get over this ‘together’ (to quote Mark) is hold it together and power on. If we all start panicking and demanding more all we will cause is our own collapse with a ever quickening upward spiral.
When will the public sector realize that it is not a magical money tree that pays its wages… the tax payer pays the wages..and I’m a tax payer having to serious tighten my belt because if demand more, my boss (that I don’t need..??) gives up, goes for broke, and I’m on the floor unemployed. It is, in theory a team. Anyway Mark, would you board a plane where the cabin crew take turns at flying so as to avoid having a captain? Good luck comrade

Posted by Abrown | Report as abusive

Inflation doesn’t have to be harmful _if_ wages stay in balance. In fact it can be redistributive, depends on the situation and the relative bargaining power of employees and employers.

Aren’t the enormous wage demands of senior managers inflationary also? And if you’re so worried about taxpayers, what about the billions of pounds lost through tax ‘avoidance’?

Lastly who said anything about avoiding competant pilots on planes? There’s nothing wrong with expertise. What I was talking about was workplace democracy and collective decision making, as practiced in many places around the world. If you don’t believe in democracy in the workplace, why do you believe in it politically? If we need a strong hand at the tiller, why not do away with elections and have a dictator?

Posted by Mark Social Ecology London | Report as abusive

These council workers are greedy and the people they serve are some of the most vulnerable in society. Shame on them for striking and shame on them for trying to pretend that they have such difficult lives. Tell my grandmother, struggling by on her state pension and who worked all her life that they’re more deserving than she is. Them and their index linked pensions.

Posted by Citiboy | Report as abusive

I have a number of family members who work for the council who constantly brag about having little to do and still being able to accrue flexi time (for sitting on their butts!!). Other companies expect employees to work all their hours and they work a longer week – welcome to the real world!!!!!

Posted by Beth | Report as abusive

Welcome to the Real World. In a Democracy you have the right to Strike, unfortunately the people that you are going to affect cant afford to strike and are fairly powerless when it happens.
One way to get more money would be to get rid of the extra Management that most Government Departments have! However these are the very same people that have the power to employ more of the same and do so to provide a cushion for themselves.
We need a radical step change in this Country to bring it back to the people who actually live here, that’s one of the reasons the General Public will have little sympathy for the strikers and their actions.
One way we could do it is to bring back all the forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, sack all the Council moaners and sort out or own House before we go around the world sucking up to the Yanks. Dont forget we are nearly Polish and invite them to run our Councils as well, well they could hardly do a worse job could they?

I have served this Country and was once proud to do it, my Grandfather died during the second world war which now I see as a total waste of his life, I’m slowly starting to hate everything that Britain stands for.

Its hardly surprising that the Troops feel as if we don’t care that they are laying their lives on the line for this country when all we do is whinge, moan and support everybody else apart from ourselves.

Time to get a grip!

Posted by pmh64 | Report as abusive

I also here that not only do these greedy and stupid public sector workers get a pay rise each year, most automatically get upgraded on the “grade” system, which means a further pay rise.

20-30% of these workers aren’t even needed. just a ruse to keep unemployment down.

I would sack them all and remove their final salary pension schemes.

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

Absolutely disgusting that they are striking.Just plain greed.
Sack the lot of them!

Posted by martyn | Report as abusive

The strike action is sensible as council workers deserve more pay along with all general workers on national average salaries.
The government will just have to make cuts in military spending and increase tax on the highly paid as well as stop offshore tax loopholes for the super-rich in order to pay the working classes.
If you earn less than £50000 per year you too are working class so stop being so ashamed of yourselves and face up to it.

Posted by marcus christophas | Report as abusive

Citiboy, grandma may be struggling by on her state pension, but I pay 7% into mine, so I will not be a burden on the state when I retire. When the nurse and the firmen went out did you have the same blinkered views, the police want the right to strike, they get paid a lot more then me, should they be ashamed as well? I work in ASB dealing with mouthy idiots and even mouthy parents every day. I get sworn at on a daily basis, I have been threatened, screamed at and told that I am “dead” and they know where I live. I never know if the next idiot that I give a warning to is carrying a knife or not. How many times a day do you whinging lot put up with this? Still fancy my job, you would not stand the pace. As for this claptrap about 35 hours weeks, I should have remembered that when I was working till 7pm last night UNPAID in my job helping vunerable people. Hands up all those who do unpaid overtime who are in the private sector. I get 25 days holiday a year and as for the alleged discounts, humm, someone tell me where they are please, as I have not yet been offered any. Our team numbers have been cut and office space reduced to save costs. THe plushy office space that you lot see is public spaces, you would all soon moan if you were dealt with in the pit of an office I work in, with its wasps nests and yearly invasion of ants, no air con, no easy life in our office. I frequently work 45 plus hours and evening and weekend working is the norm for me, all unpaid. I can be sacked, there is nothing stopping me from being sacked and some people have been. It is about time that people realised that working for the local authority is not an easy life. Yes, there are people that take the p*** but there is in every sector. One day you lot will need someone like me to either deal with your local yobs, wipe your senile backside or pick up your dead grandma off the floor.

Posted by D Brogan | Report as abusive

I agree with the strikers and feel that the recent strikes should be extended to encompass the private sector as well.

One further point/question; if people working for private companies feel that they are getting a worse deal than public sector workers and are unable to strike, then why do they continue to work for their respective companies?

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

As a council worker who works weekends and often more than 37 hours per week for no overtime I would be interested to know what our ‘perks’ are. If we have them I have yet to be informed about them. In my job we work well over our hours due to shortage of staff and often without proper breaks which is illegal but we still do it because we look after vulnerable members of society and we don’t want them to suffer. Myself and many of my collegues supported the strike but actually worked today – not for the councils benefit but for the people we serve so they didn’t have to suffer for something that had nothing to do with them. May I suugest some of the people who criticise us try doing our jobs for a while before commenting. They might have a few more facts right then. Finally, no I’m not a binman as a lot of the comments seem to be directed at them. I am an extremely hard working home carer who loves her job but, like everyone else has bills to pay. 2 percent of my pay is far below 2 percent of an mps pay.

Posted by Helen | Report as abusive

How dare you people in the private sector speak down to me Im a council worker and work damn hard for my wage and whos says I get perks and work a short week I work with some of the toughest kids around and have to tolerate abuse on a daily bases SO AM ENTITLED TO STRIKE FOR BETTER PAY DEAL and BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE !!!

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

D Brogan, You make a good point with regards to the extra hours you work etc, but dont forget the people you deal with keep you in a job!

If the system and Country in general wasnt in such a complete mess you would probably have to look for work in the Private sector where youd get paid for the extra hours you say you do!

I tend to remember a strike like this in 1979 when the likes of you lot went on strike and the Dead were left unburyed and the Rubbish was left on the street.

Good job the Armed forces dont go on strike as we would have all sorts of people in the country, Oh look they are already here, Oh and some are running it!!

You, who used to be called Public Servants, because the Tax Payer pays your wages, should not be allowed to go on strike! If you feel that you are more Important than the rest of use why dont you Naff off to the Private sector and get paid for the Over time, Dont forget some of US do Charity work which is UNPAID !

Dont be surprised if you dont get much Sympathy, we are all in the same boat which you have over looked. Striking when theres little Cash about is Bloody stupid, why dont you push harder when you have the chance to gain cos all your gonna get is a load of pain and abuse, mind you, you have mentioned that you are used to that!

Posted by pmh64 | Report as abusive

I work for my local council, 35hrs per week, no pension by the way! My take home pay is less than £250pw. Remember that most council workers are cleaners,carers and low paid office workers on just above the min. wage. True there are fat cats at the top who earn big wages but the majority do not. Perks? what perks. I am not a bin man by the way and council jobs are not for life you can get sacked like any other job.

Posted by Trevor Massey | Report as abusive

I am a council worker and one of the lower paid ones. I am available all hours of the day and night and lucky if I take home a £1000 a month. I do a lot of unpaid hours because I take a pride and interest in the work I do. It is a myth to believe that all council workers retire on a good pension and I may have to put off retirement for several years. The fairest way for pay rises would be in pounds and not percentages as with the present system the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Most council workers are commited to the work they do for little reward or thanks from the public. 2.45% may be a lot at the top end of the payscale but little help for the lower paid.

Posted by Fred | Report as abusive

I work for a council, last week I was told that I have to apply for my own job. The job uncertainty is probably worse now for the public sector than the private sector. There is constant reorganisation, pay reviews that actually cut your pay and instability because our jobs and pensions changed at the whim of politicians. Those who did strike don’t get paid for the day(s, it will probably cost them more than they stand to gain by any extra wage increase they are fighting for.

I am not a fan of striking but what else can you do when year after year the wage rise offered is lower than even the government’s ludicrous estimate of inflation.

I really don’t recognise this cushy life that people are suggesting councils workers have. And bear in mind that we pay our council tax as well.

By the way I am surprised that so many people who claim that Council workers do so few hours and need to get in the real world found the time to write a comment (or even several comments) on this blog during the working day.

Posted by PAB100 | Report as abusive

No, I work for a private sector organisation working with local government. Local government employees should consider themselves lucky, they also get awarded spinal points which seem to be awarded to them just for length of service, as well as their final salary pension, more holiday than the private sector (in some cases additional ‘bank holidays’ e.g. days after standard bank holidays and the Queens birthday), time off in lieu, a ‘work your hours’ culture, flexible working arrangements that are not seen elsewhere. Many (not all) are overpaid for the work they do and would not get equivalent salaries for equivalent level jobs in the private sector. Radical change is needed in local government to make local goverment employers realise that local government is not a holiay camp where people can see out their days in a job for life.

Posted by kay | Report as abusive

I do not claim to understand the complexities of the modern financial system but one question I think here is the most pertinent of all:
In this time of difficult finances for all, Government included, where is the money for this pay rise meant to come from?
No doubt the Government will be forced to find the money from somewhere. No doubt that somewhere will be publicly funded. I certainly do not want to find myself worse off just so others can be better off. I realise people are struggling. Alot of people are. But what gives those the right to be better off at others expense?

Posted by wayne | Report as abusive

I’m one of those apparently well paid workers on strike. No we do not get paid enough. How many people do you know who will work in an environment where they risk getting beat up every day (I spent every term for 2 years having this happen) for less than £9,000 a year for a 30 hour week. Yes I could leave but then I would have to pay out child care costs. I have already been there done that and my child was suffering. We do not get pay rises every year for grading only for the first 5 years and then we get the normal annual payrise, and as for my inflated pension well how many people would be happy with a pension of £2,000 a year which is what mine is predicted for after I have paid into it for 23 years.
As you have guessed I work in a school but we do a lot more than the public think, we are in an environment where we actually do as much teaching as the teacher for a 1/3 or less of the pay. We do have 13 weeks holiday!!! a year in which most of it I spend making resources for the special needs children I work with, so I probably get about the same holidays as you normal workers when I have spent weeks and lots of evening making all those.
If all the LSA’s left because of low pay the general public would then be up in arms because the children who needed the extra help wouldn’t receive it and this would have knock on effect to childs social as well as educational life. So before you say we are not justified in asking for more money think about the very important job we do and then ask yourself if you would do the same job for the same money.

Posted by Janet | Report as abusive

I am a striking Unison worker and have worked for local government for the last 5 years, prior to that I worked in the private sector for 15 years. After being made redundant from my job I started working for the council term time only, my salary is paid pro-rata so I do not get the full annual amount that you all seem to think I get. 2.45 of my salary does not even give me ten pounds more per month so I feel entitled to strike. 2.45% of nothing is nothing. I have a young child so term time means I do not have to pay out childcare fees. Yes I could go work in the private sector but if we all did that where would our councils be then.
All of you who seem to think that we are being greedy try living on my wage for a year or even a few months in London and you wouldn’t be long changing your mind. I pay into my pension scheme (a lot more than I did in my final pension scheme in the private sector) and as for perks, please list them as I am not aware of any. Most of the back offices are run down and you would run a mile from working in them.
You can be sacked from the council and they are a lot tougher on sickness taken off than any of the places I have worked in the private sector. 6 days off in a six month period and you are in a stage 1 meeting 2 more stages and you are sacked, it doesn’t matter if it is cancer or something minor the illness is not taken into account just the amount of days taken, try that in the private sector and there would be uproar.

So all of you who think we are being greedy please get your facts right, most of the strikers are getting the minimum wage and it says something when a cleaner on London Underground is paid more than our learning support assistants who help your children in schools.

Posted by Molly | Report as abusive

As a council worker, I am shocked at the anger and ill informed nonsense directed at us by many of this blog’s contributors. I am being rewarded for my hard work with a pay freeze for three years and then I’ll get a pay cut of six grand. This so called increase is below inflationa and therefore constitutes another pay cut. I am motivated to just get out of the council, as they dont reward their staff well. I did not strike today, I’m getting out because I can. Many of my colleagues are staying and are trying to offer a good service to the public, but this is how we are regarded? Sod you all. You ungratefull bastards you dont deserve good services, yeah lets sack the lot of em…..yeah.

Posted by Kevin Wall | Report as abusive

How much (or little) do we value our public services? Let the facts speak for themselves:


Road sweeper: £14,430
Teaching assistant: £15,530
Care worker: £17,088
Sports coach: £21,411
Librarian: £22,388
Building control officer: £29,840

Source: BBC/LGA figures for England and Wales

Posted by j oldershaw | Report as abusive

But for a few contributions to this site, I must say I am disappointed at the low level of knowledge and intelligence of the contributors.

It is all emotions without intelligence. Some talk about paying tax to employ the public sector staff…Do they think the public sector staff does not pay the tax they pay or pays less tax than they pay because they are public sector staff? Do they think the public sector staff avoids or evades tax? Are they ignorant of the fact that the government contracts are implimented by the private sector that employ them. What does the tax paid by the public sector staff do in the economy, if not what their own tax do i.e constituting a part of “the sources of funding” for the system which gives government the impetus to create opportunities for businesses that employ these empty barrels?

How does the economy function? The funds in the bank that pay the Bank staff where does it come from? The contracts that sustain the private sector, where do they come from? The policies that keep the system functional, who articulates them?

To think an empty vessel contributing to the comments even dared to ridicule the ability of the public sector workers is sad…he must be as empty as his comment indicated.

Job is job and needs to be done whether in the public sector or private sector…same skills are required to perform specific jobs e.g. powering a computer in the private sector requires the same skills as powering a computer in the public sector. The difference is that better skills are recruited in the public sector…better qualified personnel are employed by the public sector hence the regulation, organisation and sanity which everyone is envious of. If you cannot stand up to your employers armed with the Labour laws, why envy those who do just that.

Having worked in both sectors before setting up my own business, I think every one that has written the nonsense I read in this forum needs a rethink. The resentment they expressed towards the public sector workers is undeserved. They can apply to the public sector if they think they are qualified enough to work in that sector…only a public sector interview will rudely awaken them to their incapabilities…already expressed in their lack of objectivity and poor analysis.

They all own the public sector workers some form of apology for their bias.

Posted by Obo Ifa | Report as abusive

The ignorance and bias views of most of the comments against the Council Workers is not based on facts!! They mention Final Salary pension Schemes but do they know what they are talking about. Final Salary pension scheme is a pecentage of your final pay and do not forget you have to pay in for that each month like any Pension Scheme and to really benefit you need to have spent your entire working life with the Council!!

It is also mentioned that an increase in pay will cost them more money. I expect it will but any pay rise in the private or public sector affects everyone and we all pay for it. I also pay my council tax each month and face he same price increases as anyone else.
I wonder how many of the comments are made by people who can’t be bothered to work and live off the state!!!!!!!!

Posted by Fred | Report as abusive

Some of the comments puzzle me. I get extra holidays do I? The Queens birthday being one of them. Humm, would the poster like to name the LA that does offer that, because it sure as hell is not offered in mine. Extra Bank Holidays. There is 2 extra days, one after Easter and one after the August one. The NHS have these as well, can the poster start shooting the NHS down in flames as well please? Not all LA’s have the extra day, the one I live in does not and the one I work in does.

Another one claims that people do unpaid work. You know nothing about my life, how dare you criticise me. I work full time and hold down 2 unpaid jobs. One for a service charity and one for a cat charity, both require a lot of hours of what free time that I do have, but they are done, because I can work from home. How many of you do unpaid overtime at you computer of weekend, updating notes, emailing and phoning to reassure residents and speak to parents who should know where their kids are but cannot be arsed, while holding a feral kitten trying to get it socialised. Or even holding a dying one, giving it some comfort in it’s last few hours. I have dealt with phone calls and queries from the serive charity while doing unpaid overtime, so don’t lecture me on what unpaid work is.

Due to staff cutbacks my work load is that great now, that I am doing to work of two others, don’t tell me that I have it cushy.

I am currently going thru the nightmare of single status and this is the propspect of pay being frozen for three years and then a possible pay cut of substantial proportions. We face losing our house if that goes thru, can I hear howls of protest from the ignorant among you? The silence is deafing.

My spinal points are for the first two years of my service only, I have now reached the top of my spine, so all I have to look foward to is below inflation rises. Spinal points are not for ever, they are only for a limited time depending on grade.

I am fed up of hearing “I pay my council tax”. Well, I hate to shatter what ever bigoted dreams you hold, but so do I and I get no discounts, I pay the full rate.

“Sack ’em all” Yes please and perhaps the biased and bigoted among you would like my job?

Get the facts right first and the you can criticise and yes I am looking for a job in the private sector as they seem to have it cushier, after all they have time during the working day to slag us off!

Posted by D Brogan | Report as abusive

And can I also add that I may be on strike, but I am still checking my emails on a daily basis in case one of you “Tax Payers” are having a few minor problems like bricks thru your windows and surrounded by yobs. But reading some of the bigoted and selfish views on here has made me think why the hell am I doing it. So I have stopped checking my emails, so if you critics would like to crawl out of the woodwork, send me your contact details I would be more than happy to refer some of the victims onto to you, so you can deal with them and tell them that I am greedy and selfish, oh and I will throw in a few shitty families for you to deal with as well.

In March I was given a police award for work over and above my duties. The police commended me for my work, the council would only honour my work if there was something in it for them , i.e being splashed all over the local press. I refused, becuase it was my work and no one elses that got me that award, I had no back up from my team or managers and a lot of my own time was spent tackling the problem, which was not even claimed back as flexi time. So as I am so selfish and greedy I look forward to your contact details.

Posted by D Brogan | Report as abusive

I’d just like to add a comment to what I wrote yesterday. How can the Government justify taking their mortgage payments and also buy furniture out of taxpayers money and then say they can’t afford to give people a decent rise in their wages. That doesn’t only apply to council workers either. As this is supposed to be a democratic country isn’t it time we had a vote as to whether WE can afford to keep subsidising THEM or is that asking too much of the hypocrites that we know them to be.

Posted by Helen | Report as abusive

D Brogan, now you know what people think are you surprised? You will all be Tarred with the same brush as most of the General Public get their Info from the media, which is Private Sector!

Recent articles in the National Press argued that Employees are working extra hours for nothing and they would be correct, Yes? Congratulations on your Commendation but it would put food on the table will it?
You get nothing for being over conscientious in this day and age!

And as for Obo you need to pull your head out of your a—-!

Posted by pmh64 | Report as abusive

PMH64, I don’t think it is obo that needs to pull his head out. You criticise based on fiction with out being aware of the full facts. My commendation was based on my hard work as a local goverment employee. No, it does not put food on the table, but I can walk away at the end of the day knowing that I have given 110%.

As a LG employee I and others like me have been slated in these posts for being lazy, greedy and selfish. Now you are telling me that I get nothing for being conscientious. Make up your mind. What do you do for a living, seeing as you think you views are so justified?

It was interesting to note that my anti spam word was LIFE and I think you need to get one!

Posted by D Brogan | Report as abusive

Looks as though Astrid stirred the pot with this one!!
The problem for local government workers is that they are inextricably linked in the minds of private sector workers to the Labour government. Labour squanders billions of pounds of taxpeyers’ hard-earned money on buying votes from minority groups and packing the public payroll with people that it hopes will vote Labour. It is seen as a byword for corruption and waste and unfortunately anyone associated with government at whatever level is tarred with the same brush. It’s tough on the genuine hard workers in public services, but they have to live with it.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

Trying to enlighten PHM64 appears to be a waste of time. His level of ignorance is too high. He relies on the media and lacks the capacity to see through what is presented! If you go through all he has written, you just know how empty he is.

like Terry said, “he who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a ….” I do not think I will want to waste any of my time on him. I recommend he goes for elementary course in Economics.

My sympathy go to the serious minded council workers short changed in a time like this. For those who say sack them all, I say go apply for the jobs and see if you have the right attitude to support the system as they do. Not only that, if you are mentally and physically fit for the job.

If it is what would put food on your table you think of, you don’t need to look further to see the reason for Bank failures and collapse of the private firms and why the insolvency rate is high. The mentality of the likes of PMH64 speak volumes for the sector.

Apologies to the serious minds in the sector. I doubt if he is in the sector. He strikes me as a dependant of some sort.

Save your breath.

Posted by Obo | Report as abusive

It’s amazing how much rage I’m seeing from the sales managers and the finance drones and all the other people in the polyester suits with their Chelsea tractors and their people carriers telling me their corporate world is the “real” one.

These are, by and large, people who sell other people stuff they don’t need in return for money they don’t have. People who don’t personally make, or produce, or do, anything at all (except send around reports and memos and write policies and sit around in meetings). People who might sometimes move from their desk to their car.

They’re people who can’t strike for better conditions themselves because they chose to take a job where they don’t do anything the general public even notices.

And they have a sense of entitlement that comes from their useless 2/2 degree in Media Studies.

— Oh, wait, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s more to the private sector world than stereotypes?

Do you think it could be the same in the public sector?

Posted by Stuart | Report as abusive

There is a justification on the basis that real incomes are not keeping a pace with inflation.
However, there is no justification from a monetary view point in awarding rises. The UK is suffering from too many people in the public sector which is having to be financed by the private sector. With the credit crunch, awarding any substantial increases for council workers will be counter productive for the economy as a whole

Posted by charles conservatory turner | Report as abusive

j oldershaw and anyone else out there who fails to understand basic laws of supply and demand. Low skilled jobs attract low wages. Instead of bleating about striking spend some time developing better skills and you will then get better paid jobs. Nobody forced anyone to accept the current job that they have. And before you start crying about teachers assistants only getting £15k assistants in any industry public or private get paid peanuts because all they are is an assistant. Use your brain and you end up with your own assistant.

Most of us went to comprehensive school and the ones that didn’t do well because they made no effort deserve what they end up earning.

Posted by Nick Riley | Report as abusive

Those of you who do not work in the public sector need to get your facts right. The old saying “A job at the council is a job for life” no longer applies.

For those wingeing about all the “supposed” benefits council workers are on, and people in the private sector don’t get those perks, then join the public sector!

Telling people to leave if they don’t like it, why not turn this around and you leave the private if YOU don’t like it? It works both ways.

Posted by Lisa Lowe | Report as abusive

I must echo the former bloggers comments. I teach hgvtraining to council dust cart drivers. A lot of them have to pass their HGV if they want to carry on working. This is because the council has bought new hgv trucks that require the hgv licence. If they do not pass their test they get no job. There certainly is no job for life. And the pay is appaling. They do a fine job.

Posted by Sean hgvlgv | Report as abusive