'Stand up for workers, don't turn on them'
A UNION leader has launched an outspoken attack on the city council's Labour leaders over proposed changes to staff terms and conditions.
Council leader Steve Brady is calling for union negotiators at the Guildhall to accept plans to scrap overtime payments and reduce mileage allowances.
He said the move would allow the council to save about £7m a year and avoid the need to consider axing up to 400 jobs.
But Adrian Kennett, Hull branch secretary of local government union Unison, said he wanted Labour councillors to stand up for staff instead of criticising them.
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He said: "These are not perks. These are terms and conditions that have been negotiated over decades.
"Prior to the financial crisis, no Labour leader in the city had referred to them as generous or a perk."
The two sides have been locked in talks over the issue since before Christmas.
The proposed saving is expected to form part of the ruling Labour group's budget, which is due to be unveiled next month.
Mr Kennett said the fall-out from the "financial apocalypse" facing the council should not be shouldered by its staff.
He said: "Driving down terms and conditions for workers who provide valuable and much-needed support to vulnerable people or workers who clean the streets in the early hours is not the answer to the city's problems.
"In fact, those who work antisocial hours should be compensated for doing so, whether that's in the council or the private sector.
"The continual race to the bottom in workers' pay is unacceptable and rather than the leader of the council saying it is immoral to pay overtime, we would argue it is immoral for the most vulnerable and lowest paid in the authority to take the brunt of the cuts.
"We would like to see him and the ruling group stand up and defend their staff rather than turn on them."