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Unison meets with Oliver Letwin MP

Location: UK » South West » DT
Unison meets with Oliver Letwin MP

Unison representatives met with Oliver Letwin MP in Dorchester on 21 January. During the meeting, the first since May 2010, various items were discussed, but here’s a reminder of what he told us in May 2010:
“The most common items in my post bag are letters from pensioners complaining about the cost of their council tax.”
“I’ll speak with the LGA about granting the £250 increase for the lowest paid staff.” (those on less than £21k a year).
Here are the highlights of our recent meeting:
UNISON: Has the content of your post bag changed since last May?
LETWIN: Possibly due to the freezing of council tax, his post bag is more mixed. Issues relating to fisheries are key topics at the moment.
UNISON: Has there been any progress with the LGA about getting the pay rise for low paid staff?
LETWIN: No. Things are tough. Government policy is to let ‘localism thrive’, so all they can do is use a ‘loud hailer’ to signal to the council what they should be doing. We need to pray for good fortune (though he didn’t say if praying was a new government strategy).
UNISON: Are you aware that DCC has decided which heads of service should go first, which will obviously ensure that they get the best redundancy multiplier applied to their large salaries, while most staff can only hope for either 1.75 or 1.25, and possibly be made redundant later?
LETWIN: I’m surprised to hear of this, it’s interesting and I can see how this could grate with staff.
LETWIN: What decisions have been made about shared leadership with other authorities?
UNISON: DCC have already discounted this as a possibility, which means that all directors and remaining heads of service are now safe from the cuts. If they weren’t so protected, they would yield the greatest savings with the lowest number of casualties.
LETWIN: I am keen on shared management with other authorities.
UNISON: It doesn’t look as if your colleagues in DCC agree with you.
Colleagues from Ansbury Connexions explained the problems being experienced because of the massive cuts to their budget and associated staff losses across Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset.
LETWIN: I will raise these issues with my ministerial colleagues.
The meeting was then cut short due to ‘pressures of time’ but Mr Letwin has agreed to a further meeting with Unions soon. In the meantime, let us pray that his loudhailer remains in good working order and that his post bag delivers some letters from DCC employees.

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