Westminster Labour Councillors have called on Westminster Council to address poor morale amongst staff over low pay. According to the ‘Financial Times’ some Westminster Council staff “need to use food banks and payday loans just in order to get through the month”.
This comes as the Council is embarking on a reorganisation of the Council as part of a bid to save £100 million in Government cuts.
Labour Councillors say that the only way to preserve the quality of Council services in the face of such huge cuts is to ensure that staff are properly motivated and rewarded.
According to the ‘Financial Times’, which reported on the large public sector workers’ strike last week;
“Serena Simon, a 37-year-old community protection officer for Westminster council, was one of thousands of workers taking part in the strike action over pay, pensions and jobs. She said she had brought two of her children to the picket line because “they need to understand”.
“A lot of my colleagues at Westminster City Council need to use food banks and payday loans just in order to get through the month.
“Unless we do something, we are not going to get anything different and we can’t afford to just keep on with this pay cut.
“Currently I take home £1,700 . . . I’m paying £780 for the mortgage [and] the cost of food, water, gas, electricity, travel . . . are going up.
“I’m a public service worker, challenging crime and antisocial behaviour, coming in really early and going home really late. We do good works, we just want fair pay.”
In April 2014, at the Housing, Finance and Customer Services Scrutiny Committee, Councillors were informed that “staff satisfaction with pay continues to be low which reflects the impact of the pay freeze in recent years. The Director of Human Resources stated that the ability to progress pay and benefits compared unfavourably with those of Tri-Borough colleagues.”
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“Cutting £100 million from local services will have a massive impact on the quantity and quality of local services. If this is compounded by poorly paid and de-motivated staff then the situation for local residents will become even worse. Paying Council staff properly, particularly those on the front line, has never been so important. If the Council ignores this basic truth then any reorganisation will be simply an exercise in re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”.
Details of the Council’s proposed reorganisation is here