Council leader says it is the wrong time for strike action

Councillor Simon Geraghty, city council leader

Councillor Simon Geraghty, city council leader

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

THE leader of Worcester City Council has stuck his neck out by criticising next week's public sector strikes.

Councillor Simon Geraghty has courted controversy by saying he is "personally disappointed" about the walk-out on Thursday which threatens to cripple services across the county.

As your Worcester News first revealed last month, the so-called "day of action' will see council workers, teachers, fire service staff and other public sector employees down tools for a day amid a pay dispute.

It is unclear how many council staff will stay at the picket line, but contingency plans are being hastily drawn up to minimise any impact.

Cllr Geraghty, a Conservative, is also deputy leader of Worcestershire County Council, where the Unison branch has been among the country's most vocal recently over pay and conditions.

He says the strikes are taking place just at a time when the economy is starting to improve, which has led to one per cent pay rises kicking in.

It follows a one per cent pay rise last year, which came after three successive years of freezes.

Cllr Geraghty, speaking during a council meeting, said: "This authority recognises employees have a right to strike, they can do that.

"But I personally find it disappointing that the unions nationally do continue to argue for a strike at a time when the economy is just starting to turn."

Councillor Neil Laurenson, a Worcester Green politician, said since 2010 local government workers have suffered a 20 per cent real-terms pay cut, and insisted "local and national issues" were dragging them down.

Cllr Geraghty then said: "I do understand the pressures, that's what councils across the country are having to balance.

"But I don't think, at this time when we're seeing small pay rises coming through that it's the right time to strike."

He said in terms of the city council, it has a good, positive relationship with the unions and cited "national issues" as the driver behind the strikes.

The strike threatens to be the biggest in the UK since 2010, with the Fire Brigades Union adding to the militant mood this past Wednesday when it announced it was joining in.

Among the unions, Unite has called the deal "insulting" with spokeswoman Fiona Farmer claiming many workers are now on "poverty pay".

Comments (1)

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11:44am Sat 5 Jul 14

Jabbadad says...

Another demonstration from Geraghty acting as the Emporor at the bidding of Cameron, when will Geraghty, Bayliss and the CONservative Possee get the message that they are elected to represent this City / County, not Cameron and his Friends in London. This strike is not just about wages, although we see the Councillors still getting increases when since being a Councillor should be / is a hobby not a Job as some of The Councillors expenses would suggest. So stop hiding behind London Soundbites Simon. Address in public the future of the 1,500 who are going to lose their jobs at County Hall, because of CONservative policies. When really what we need is a drastic CULL among County and City councillors. How anyone can continue to vote these CONservatives back in is questionable, as to, being unaware of what is happenning to their Elderly family members and the vulnerable and disabled , or plain greed over the promisses made by the CONservatives, but who are filling their own pockets first.
And let's not talk about HONESTY since the CONservatives seem to be racked with fresh reports frequently.
Another demonstration from Geraghty acting as the Emporor at the bidding of Cameron, when will Geraghty, Bayliss and the CONservative Possee get the message that they are elected to represent this City / County, not Cameron and his Friends in London. This strike is not just about wages, although we see the Councillors still getting increases when since being a Councillor should be / is a hobby not a Job as some of The Councillors expenses would suggest. So stop hiding behind London Soundbites Simon. Address in public the future of the 1,500 who are going to lose their jobs at County Hall, because of CONservative policies. When really what we need is a drastic CULL among County and City councillors. How anyone can continue to vote these CONservatives back in is questionable, as to, being unaware of what is happenning to their Elderly family members and the vulnerable and disabled , or plain greed over the promisses made by the CONservatives, but who are filling their own pockets first. And let's not talk about HONESTY since the CONservatives seem to be racked with fresh reports frequently. Jabbadad
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