Leeds Unison Local Government members have opposed the Council’s latest offer by an overwhelming 85% with only 14.5 voting to accept out of a return of 31.3%.

A Leeds Unison Steward reports

The result and ‘return rate’ has increased from the previous ballot in February following pressure from activists to commit the leadership to stronger wording to accompany the ballot to advise members to clearly reject the offer.

Leeds Unison will not sign a collective agreement to make changes to Service Conditions, however, members in GMB, Unite and Ucatt unions have voted to accept.

This will complicate the effectiveness of local government unions working collectively but because there can be no collective agreement it is likely that the Council will impose the offer which will mean all staff being dismissed and re-engaged on new contracts with the changes to our Service Conditions.

Leeds Unison is committed to seek to ballot for strike action if the Council seeks to impose the changes to Service Conditions on our members, however it will be pressing to continue negotiations.

Many members have already experienced a deterioration of the quality of service; greater workloads, less staff to do the work, fewer working harder, and that’s just through the Early Leavers Initiative. Already there has been £90m worth of cuts to service budgets so that we offer less to service users and tougher access to potential service users. Sadly there have been some services that have been cut. For many of us these cuts are creeping in on the quiet. The Council wants its employees to formally accept what it is already doing.

Leeds Unison must lead by example and be the first to start mobilising its members, preparing for industrial action now. We must make are members aware that these cuts are very real and that all jobs are potentially under threat – that this is a fight to defend jobs and services.