Council’s payroll staff vote to strike over redundancy plans

Chief exec accused of ignoring ‘serious whistleblowing complaint’, as one-quarter of staff in one council section are facing losing their jobs – and all those to be made redundant are BAME women

Croydon in crisis: the council faces more turmoil after allegations of discrimination were submitted to

Members of the GMB union working in the council’s payroll department have voted to take strike action from April 19. If the strike action goes ahead, it could jeopardise monthly wages payments to all staff at the cash-strapped council, from £192,000 per year chief exec Katherine Kerswell downwards.

Unlike Kerswell, however, those council workers going on strike are among the less-well-paid at Fisher’s Folly, and they have voted to take industrial action over what they see as a discriminatory restructuring plan in which one-quarter of the payroll staff will lose their jobs – all of them BAME women.

GMB union officials believe the redundancy proposals are discriminatory.

The council’s management is seeking to make £150,000-worth of savings in payroll, at a local authority with debts of £1.6billion.

Croydon Council has this month issued Council Tax demands with a 15per cent increase as part of its efforts to balance its budget.

In a statement issued to Inside Croydon, the GMB says: “The council are yet to act on grievances submitted by the staff and they are yet to reply to counter-proposals made by the same staff to look at saving money with no compulsory redundancies.”

GMB say that they met with representatives from the council’s personnel department last week: “But after an agreement was reached, no progress has been made towards this agreed way forward.”

The strike action is scheduled to last for two weeks, with potential for a further course of action to last six months.

GMB official Rachael Baylis said: “GMB members at Croydon Council have had enough of their jobs, pay, terms and conditions being the first thing to get attacked when the local authority is facing financial crisis.

Solidarity: the council’s payroll staff plan two weeks of strikes later this month

“Not only this, but there has been a gross failure by management to address the very serious grievances put in by our members regarding alleged bullying, harassment, racism, and numerous other forms of discrimination.

“Getting the budget to balance should not be at the expense of our members suffering inappropriate behaviour in an effort to steamroll through this unnecessary restructure.

“We call upon the council chief executive Katherine Kerswell and the Mayor of Croydon, Jason Perry, to take control of the senior management team and deal with the serious issues in hand – especially as the chief executive is yet to acknowledge receipt of the serious whistleblowing allegations submitted on March 27.”

Read more: Judge orders CEO Kerswell to face tribunal over racism claims
Read more: You can depend on Croydon Labour: they always let you down
Read more: Here’s the Mayor and 33 Croydon Tory councillors who THREE times voted in favour of hitting you with a 15% Council Tax hike


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6 Responses to Council’s payroll staff vote to strike over redundancy plans

  1. Peter Underwood says:

    As usual it is the lowest paid staff getting the sack instead of the highest paid staff getting a pay cut. The Mayor, cabinet members and senior managers in Croydon think they deserve to be overpaid but other people don’t deserve to be paid at all

    Solidarity with the GMB members going on strike to save their jobs

  2. Graham Bradley says:

    What with the council making a complete bollox of the new bollards along the Brighton Road, the management are now nitpicking over the staff employed in the pay unit just to save a few bob when Croydon borough is so heavily in debt. Unbelievable. And still careful Kerswell shows no real leadership.

  3. The serious whistleblowing allegations were submitted on March 27.

    The Council’s whistleblowing policy says “The Council will acknowledge receipt of the concern/ disclosure where practically possible within five working days of the written or verbal communication”.

    Have they dug their finger out or are they now in breach of their own policy?

  4. Ian Kierans says:

    Professional departments with professionals who know what they are doing is what makes organisations tick along with minimum fuss.
    I have no idea if it is cuts or just incredibly bad management and terrible systems that Croydon has, but as it lurches from one disaster to the next it really does not matter as the result is the same.
    Any change manager knows there is slack and redundant sysytem you can lose easily and people can be effectively re-deployed to tasks that deliver better quicker and therefore cheaper.
    Every experienced change manager knows that there are unwritten tasks in all organisation that form the glue that keeps other process running efficiently and is aware of needing to keep that glue in place during the change and into the new structure. That may be software, hardware or a person and sometimes all three.

    Fundamnetally the change manager has to get the buy in of key people and obtain accurate information. however if they are not trusted for whatever reason then they do not get all the information or get lied to.
    This Council exhibits all the results of change failure and does not even know it has failed many times until they are in front of a Judge.

    How can people like Townsend get so many decisions wrong unless it was intentional to do so, instructed to do so, or Kerswell just is not told or does not care.
    So onto law –
    Public sector Equality Duty
    The public sector Equality Duty came into force across Great Britain on 5 April 2011. It means that public bodies have to consider all individuals when carrying out their day-to-day work – in shaping policy, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees.

    It also requires that public bodies have due regard to the need to:

    eliminate discrimination
    advance equality of opportunity
    foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities
    So how does a HR professional fully aware of the Equality act 2010 and the Public sector Equality duty totally ignore it and their professional duty and not advise Kerswell of what is being done?

    Or perhaps they have, and as with all acts that I have experienced from this body they could not give a shit and are following the Johnson leadership example when it comes to applying regulations and laws they feel they are above?

  5. Sharon Toon says:

    Kerswell is taking the piss, big time. She is never at her desk – always absent for whatever reason and has had the term ‘racist’ levelled at her after last the round of Council redundancies.

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