Croydon Council managers have been accused of carrying out a “botched” restructure of its housing and homelessness team, where at least 26 jobs are to be axed. Not for the first time, the council is said to have failed to conduct an adequate equalities impact assessment, as is required by law, and also of losing minutes of meetings with staff representatives.
The GMB trades union is balloting its members within the department for strike action.
The dispute centres around a departmental restructure which the union says will see the cash-strapped council lose income-generating services as well as affecting the provision of services to council tenants.
The union has accused the council leadership, including Mayor Jason Perry and chief executive Katherine Kerswell, of ignoring a collective grievance signed by 80 staff and submitted in April.
The GMB says that meeting minutes have been “lost” – shades of how the council was run when Newman and Negrini were in charge – and that formal questions put to human resources and heads of service have been unanswered or ignored.
The strike ballot is due to end tomorrow, June 1. If the union members support strike action, it could take place later in June.
“Croydon Council are totally failing our members and all service users in this botched restructure,” according to the GMB’s Rachael Baylis.
“The proposals are an absolute dog’s dinner, with little thought to the practical application. The GMB has major concerns about the equalities impacts of these proposals which have been completely ignored.
“Short-term savings will cost the council in the long run and only further damage the services.
“Our members know their jobs better than any of the management who drew this up and it is to the council’s detriment that they do not listen.
“The council has been going through a series of restructures in their attempts to balance the books.
“But it was not our members who bankrupted the council and they should not be the ones paying for it with their jobs, their workloads and their health.
“Croydon has failed to meet their legal requirements to consult throughout this process and it has left our members feeling that they have no option but to take strike action.”
A council spokesperson, echoing the scripted lines of Perry, the borough’s £82,000 per year Tory Mayor, said the borough needs to become “smaller, more efficient and offer residents better value for money”.
The council claims that the housing restructure has been “open to a full, considered staff consultation process”.
A council spokesperson described the union’s decision to ballot staff over possible industrial action as “disappointing”.
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