Council let staff down'

PUBLISHED: 14:04 10 October 2007 | UPDATED: 21:50 29 May 2010

STAFF slammed council chiefs for totally letting them down at a meeting on Tuesday night. Val Rogacs, branch chairman of UNISON - the body that represents public sector workers - tore into Uttlesford District Council s (UDC s) senior management for the

STAFF slammed council chiefs for "totally letting them down" at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Val Rogacs, branch chairman of UNISON - the body that represents public sector workers - tore into Uttlesford District Council's (UDC's) senior management for the way employees have been treated in the onset of the financial crisis.

At a meeting of the full council, Mrs Rogacs said: "Over the past three years we have seen management salaries increase by 25 per cent, but we have certainly not witnessed efficiency savings to match this."

She said that staff had "lost confidence and trust" in the current management to get them out of the situation that "they have caused".

"Some members of the management team, even as we speak, are still away for days at a time at conferences or seminars, yet staff have to get permission between a week and 10 days in advance to carry out the most basic functions if there is a cost involved."

"The message we are getting from the top is 'don't do what I do, but do as I say'," said Mrs Rogacs.

Despite massive wage increases for bosses, many of the employees are now staring redundancy in the face as the council tries to claw its way out of a financial mess.

Chief Executive Alasdair Bovaird presented a budget savings report to the council outlining ways they could reduce the £1.1 million overspend.

He said: "Eighty per cent of the council's costs are from employing staff and it will not be possible to balance the books without reducing numbers."

He added that "voluntary redundancy and early retirement" packages had been offered to the staff, but he hoped to avoid "compulsory redundancies".

The report also looked at other ways to reduce the deficit including forming partnerships with other councils to share certain services and cutting expenditure.

Cllr Jan Manell (Cons) said: "I don't think I have ever read such a shocking report." And referring to the number of council employees who have already made requests about the voluntary redundancy package, she added: "It makes for a very unhappy ship."

Cllr Rod Chamberlain (Cons) described Mrs Rogacs' report as "damning" and said: "Morale in the council is very low; a happy organisation does not generate lots of people who want to leave."

The council voted and passed Mr Bovaird's budget savings report.

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