Central Bedfordshire Council has become the latest local authority to attempt to impose worse conditions on its staff by threatening to sack them unless they agreed to new terms.
The council is proposing an across-the-board wage cut of 2%, despite having nearly £4 million spare in the budget after a projected overspend, on which the cuts plan was predicated, did not occur.
The council has imposed a 1 October deadline for staff to sign up to the lower wages or face the sack. But, less than one month from the council’s deadline, 600 staff have still refused to sign.
Martin Foster, the secretary of the Bedfordshire County branch of the GMB union, said: “It’s all very well dealing in ultimatums but sometimes people call your bluff. It seems that the Council has got itself into the position of not knowing how many staff it will have from 1 October.”
So far, few employers who have used the threat of mass sackings to impose new contracts have faced stiff resistance.
If the Bedfordshire workers hold their nerve and face their bosses down they could make it much harder for employers to use similar tactics in future.