Falkirk Council Labour Break Promise On The Living Wage

Cllr Tom Coleman

There is anger within the Falkirk Council chambers over an admission from Labour Group Leader, Craig Martin, that his Administration has performed a u-turn over a promise to introduce a “Living Wage” of a minimum £7.20p per hour by the end of 2011. The announcement was made at the meeting of Falkirk Council on 7 December in a report considered in private.

The SNP included provision for the implementation of the Living Wage from 1st of April 2011 only for the policy to be voted down by the combined votes of Labour, Tory and Independent Councillors.

Their justification in debate was that they would bring forward their own proposals only for Cllr Martin to perform an embarrassing u-turn that will come as a hammer blow to low paid council workers.

The broken promise came in a wider report that also admitted his coalition Administration have failed to make the £2.1m target of “workforce savings” contained in their February budget.

Described as “a predictable shambles” by SNP Depute Leader, Tom Coleman who predicted the failure of the Administration as far back as February.

“The Labour / Tory coalition persist in the failed practice of including policy commitments in their budget.

 In this case they included a proposal to save £2.1m in staff costs by, amongst other things, clawing back 2 days annual leave from council employees.

 The staggering thing was that they included these proposals before they consulted with staff and their trade union representatives then seemed genuinely surprised when such as UNISON recommend rejection of the proposals thus leaving a gapping hole in their budget.

 Not only does this demonstrate incompetence but arrogance on a scale that is incomprehensible.

 Now as a consequence of Labour’s blunders as well as low paid workers being denied a living wage but changes to allowances that would have cut back those of the higher paid and increased those of lower paid workers”

 The SNP depute leader was also critical of the decision to further increase the senior management of the council.

In the last few months 8 senior managers have been recruited by the council’s Appointments Committee with authority being sought for another within Social Services. Some of the recent appointments have been to posts vacant for as much as 5 years.

“The obscene haste in which these posts are being filled by the Labour / Tory coalition indicates that the current council leaders have lost control of the council.

 The recent news that some senior managers are to receive substantial pay rises at a time when frontline staff are receiving a pay freeze.

 The reason management posts and salaries are rising now is because those who weald real power know an incoming SNP Administration would never countenance such an insult to the vast majority of council staff.”



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