Council workers block bid to drive down conditions

UNISON has blocked a bid to drive down workers’ mileage claims at Suffolk County Council.

The new policy took money from some of the council’s lowest-paid staff, said UNISON.

Staff complained to their reps that the council was building a fictional commute in to their mileage allowance not allowing workers to claim until they had travelled further than their previous commute.

The new policy disproportionally affected people who live further away from their office and in some extreme cases stopped staff being able to claim for mileage even though they would be doing serval work visits that day.

A UNISON survey showed that 98% of staff were against the changes.

The branch held a rally outside council headquarters Endeavour House in July while keeping up negotiations with council bosses, leading them to drop the change earlier this week.

Staff that lost out under the change will be able to claim back their missed miles.

UNISON Suffolk County branch secretary Neil Bland said: “Grass-roots trade union activism has helped raise awareness on this important issue.

“Determined UNISON members have demonstrated that real achievements can be made to protect their conditions.

“I am proud of the UNISON members who brought this to our attention, helping us drive off a policy which seriously short-changed council staff.

“This is a significant win for UNISON members and shows exactly why being in a trade union is so important to stop policies that could be detrimental to local government staff.”

UNISON Eastern head of local government Sam Leigh praised the branch.

“Suffolk County UNISON should be proud of standing up for its members like this. Council staff saw an injustice, and fought with their union by their side to stop it.

“Other councils and other employers across the region should take note that they can’t get away with picking public-sector workers’ pockets like this.”