Uni of York Greens condemn Brighton pay cuts

The situation in Brighton is becoming increasingly worrying. While the overall council pay bill is going up, CityClean workers are facing proposals to significantly cut their pay, ostensibly in an attempt by the minority Green administration to equalise pay among male and female workers. However, as Caroline Lucas MP has stated, equalising down should never have been the means for doing this, and many Greens – possibly the majority, both in Brighton and nationally – condemn the cuts to pay. A similar motion to the one posted below is expected to be put forward to Green Party conference this September – which will be held in Brighton.

The Uni of York Green Party committee just passed the statement below unanimously. Please share widely and use it as a model motion to pass in your local parties. When passed, please send it to info@brightonhovegreens.orginfo@brighton-hove.gov.uk and jason@jasonkitcat.com (and whoever else appears relevant – B&H GMB etc.):

The University of York Green Party joins Brighton Green Party members and Caroline Lucas MP in calling for Brighton and Hove Council to rethink plans to cuts refuse workers’ pay by up to £4000 per year, which could have a disastrous effect on some of the lowest-paid council staff.

While we recognise the difficult situation the minority Green administration is in, faced with huge central government cuts and a harsh Labour/Conservative opposition, cutting the pay of the low-paid is contrary to Green principles and should be avoided by any means possible.

The University of York Green Party fully supports the workers taking action against the proposed pay cuts, and we call on the Green administration to work with the trade unions in Brighton to avoid any regressive measures, and to come up with a progressive pay proposal in line with the party’s principles of social justice, building on the council’s introduction of the Living Wage.

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5 comments

  1. Sorry Josiah but I am not convinced that this is a wise move. The only people holding all the facts on this matter were those who had to make the difficult controversial decisions, i.e. Kitcat and his colleagues, all of whom are amazingly dedicated Greens who spent years of hard graft to get the party to its current position in Brighton, have achieved great things since takiing over the council and would, I believe, WOULD have avoided if at all possible having to impose income reduction for some in the current situation.
    Your statement above omits some of the facts that are known and in some ways sounds more like the Labour Party and GMB propaganda being disgracefully waged against the greens. From what I have gleaned the absolute lowest paid are women who stand to gain substantially from the deal. Those who stand to lose the most are a few men with disproportionately higher allowances (not std pay) – and only THREE at the upper end of £4000, and those losing are being offered compensation lump sums fully cushioning the loss for 3 years to adjust. Equalising pay set up at these guy’s levels for everyone would be financially impossible. Failure to equalise the gender imbalance with some urgency could cost the council millions on compensation claims as happened in Birmingham. That the whole deal is costing the council more overall. And anyway, the whole thing is pending 90 day consultation with the workers involved.

    Was all this information provided to your members before they voted unanimously??

    Maybe Kitcat and co. have made a blunder. No-one’s perfect. But I think they have served the party and people of Brighton well enough to deserve a bit of slack, at least until we all know the whole story. It might just turn out that they did the best possible under the cicumstances. I certainly haven’t heard a single suggestion as to an alternative, especially as you acknowledge above the council’s budget is squeezed to death by central govt.

    It’s all just too premature and very damaging to the party to mobilise everyone to attack our own. Kitcat and co. are having to contend with the real challenges of running a major city, something entirely new for our party. It’s too easy to attack and criticise them without a clue of the difficulties of the job. Let’s have a bit of collective responsibility.
    If people want a glimpse of how good our Brighton councillors are, they should log in to the Brighton council website where there are loads of webcasts of council meetings – see them in action, against a load of dreadful Tory and Labour opponents. It will make you proud!

  2. Totally seconded Peter’s comment. I’m a GPEW member and I’ve been appalled to see Green Councillors undermining a Green-led administration. Kitcat’s proposals are being consulted on, and if improvements come forward from staff or unions which are fair, legal and affordable, I have no doubt he’ll accept them.

  3. The comments above are wrong. Generally it’s the highest paid that stand to benefit from the proposed changes, and the poorest losing out. And there is a simple alternative: a pay cap of £50k for the council’s highest paid fatcats.

    See this blog for details:
    http://neilharding.blogspot.co.uk/

  4. If that could be done I certainly would support it. Hard to imagine what council boss does to deserve £141,000 … Is her typical day’s work 7 times more valuable than the guys keeping the city clean?

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