Tag Archives: Cuts

NUTS CUTS

The £20m of cuts announced by the Reverend Rees for next year mainly seem to confirm that he has now gone totally insane. Among the highlights we’ve spotted so far:

  • An inexplicable £4m cut to the Adult Care budget will appear if HomeChoice prioritise people with adult social care needs on the housing register.
  • A proposal from a Labour administration to cut trade union facility time by 75 per cent. That means union reps will have no time to represent staff directly affected by cuts from a Labour administration.
  • Lots more cuts are proposed by HRH Helen of Holland overseeing Adult Care. This is despite her failure to deliver £4m of the £6m cuts she proposed last year.
  • Transport guru, “Tweedle” Don Alexander, will attempt to increase council revenue by about £2.5m from Residents Parking Zones (RPZ) and car parking. Tweedle Don has lost about £5.4m in income from these so far this year.
  • Asher “The Slasher” Craig proposes charging a fee to parents who are contacted by her Education Welfare Service about their child’s school attendance. Will she discover parents are suddenly uncontactable?
  • Finance kingpin, Craig Cheney, officially the stupidest man in Bristol, is opening a rooftop bar at the M Shed to make £85k a year.
  • Asher the Slasher is supporting young people by slashing youth services budgets by £400k.
  • Government money for Public Health will be spent on wages for the Reverend’s evangelical pals in his City Office instead. He will also pass a begging bowl around ‘external partners’ to see if they’re up for funding an office full of evangelical loonies at the Counts Louse.
  • Cabinet Pied Piper Nicola “La La” Beech is to deliver pest control in “different ways”.

We’ll let you know as we find more of these inanities over the coming months.

LETTER TO ALL COUNCILLORS FROM UNISON

From: Bristol Unison
Sent: 14 February 2022 07:58
To: All councillors
Cc: Bristol Unison; Branch Secretary; Branch Secretary, Unite
Subject: full council and collective disputes

Good Morning Councillor

I am emailing you regarding the budget proposals for Full Council on February 15th.

I am unsure if we are allowed to speak, but even if we are if will only a minute.  Hardly sufficient.

I have to inform you that we have raised two collective disputes.  One regarding museums, is by UNISON, the other one is unsurprisingly regarding the cut to trade union facility time.  With the latter, we are joined by UNITE.

The collective dispute regarding museums relates to the paperwork that was submitted to Cabinet and scrutiny prior to the full council.  The equalities impact assessment ( EQIA) was wrong and out of date.  Full details of this, is within out statements.  Furthermore, on meeting with Senior officers they confirmed this and apologised.

The EQIA should not be a paper exercise, but a robust evaluation.  I would suggest that this is especially important within culture and particularly in relation to museums and archives.  This remains the last free event that a low waged family can undertake on a rainy day.  With the cost of living increases and the low wage economy this is essential to many of your citizens.

The cuts in the papers suggested only £85k, when the true figure of nearer £420k has now arisen.  This will decimate the staff group. 

There are other issues, but with the speed of the consultative process prior to budget setting and inaccuracies within the paperwork, we are unable to engage properly.  We are asking for this report to be withdrawn, so it can be written properly and we can engage with our ideas on raising revenue to offset damage  to this service.  Furthermore, has Cabinet been misled?

Our other collective dispute with UNITE, involves the intention to cut trade union facility time.  We expect that the intention is to hamper us being able to represent member’s views in situations like this, and allow budgets and similar to pass through unmolested by democracy. 

I have spent days trying to get to the bottom of this, unsuccessfully.  I was first directed to the office of Kevin Slocombe, after a few days.  He engaged for a bit, and then handed me and our collective queries to John Walsh.  I have only received platitudes, not concrete assurances that this cut will not decimate trade union’s ability to function.  I have been told that this not a cut, but a realignment of funds.  If that is the case, then why is it in the budget proposals dealing specifically with cuts? 

We ask you to vote against this and withdraw it for proper consultation.  If it is not a cut, then it can be dealt with at the HR committee.  We will be discussing these collective disputes at this afternoon’s CJCC, with a view to them being heard at the next HR committee.

We have also been informed from other sources that Councillors have been told to vote this budget through, or fall foul of the Code of Conduct.  There is a letter circulating on social media, showing this. We believe that this undermines democracy in our city further.  We would support any councillor who votes with their conscience on the 15th.  The press would be interested in such a threat, as would the citizens of Bristol.  Who voted you in, to represent their wards and constituencies.

Lastly, I need to make a point about waste of finances.  We are told about Central Government reducing funding and putting us in such a position, that we need to cut services and outsource.  However, it is our opinion that BCC has not been entirely prudent with the budget.  For example the recent giving away of land at Temple Island to L and G, with a further £34m in improvement works.  To our knowledge, there was not a procurement process or open market tendering.  We are unclear what benefits there are for BCC or Bristol citizens.  City Leap has cost £7.4m, with a further £3m in reserves.  Bristol Energy lost £43m.  Colston Hall has now cost the council tax payer £54.4m.  I could go on, with salary increases for senior officers being one example.  We are in the process of collating evidence of this type of possible financial mismanagement.  If you are interested, then please get back to me and I can provide the list.

We firmly believe that our City should not be subjected to cut after cut and revenue should be more carefully managed, and utilised to deliver services.

Thank you for taking time to read this email and we hope you join us in defending our city.  It deserves much better.

Best wishes

Area Organiser, Unison Office, The Create Centre

Rotten Comrades – Redundancy Pay Cut Scandal Update

by Our Industrial Correspondent  -The Dwarf

I thought I would give you an update regarding the council’s recent attempt to slash the redundancy pay of its hard-working and undervalued members of staff.

It has gone remarkably quiet recently unless, that is, you happened to be passing the HR committee like I did, where it was certainly less than quiet. Having been given a great big fuck off by the unions – yes, I know, even a stopped clock is right twice a day – city council management refused to drop the matter.

Instead, they decided to get our councillors to force the cut through and that meant a request to the HR committee to recommend that their proposal goes to full council for debate. Bristol’s trade union warriors got wind of this and after a flurry of phone calls and whispered conversations in council corridors, Unison decided to write a letter of protest and Unite decided to go along to the committee and protest in person.

Of course when it came to Unison Bobo sitting down to write, he jabbed his eye with his pen because he was startled by Chuckles stepping on the comb end of a rake and hitting her nose with the handle. Needless to say the protest letter was never sent by our amusing circus friends, but someone from Unite did manage to turn up on the day for the committee.

As I said, I was passing and I was sure I heard swearing, the breaking of furniture, a squeak or two and the odd plea for mercy or might I just have imagined that? Management came out of the meeting angry and outmanoeuvred. ‘N’ (from Unite) had explained to the councillors on the HR committee exactly the sort of stitch up management was planning and the committee had sent management off with a flea in their ears.

I was told by top secret, back-channel sources that the HR committee members found the whole thing highly amusing. A just decision as well as amusing, I would say. Here’s hoping that management now see sense and drop such a highly damaging claim on their staff.

I’m not using N’s name because he doesn’t need his name all over the internet if he has to look for another job anytime soon. But if they do go for him, I think N will see them off. But it will not be thanks to the usual rotten comrades who consistently failed to back him up. N has previously been under attack and it hasn’t been pretty.

But N is in good company. Many of our bravest, most principled reps have been victimised, sacked, managed out of the business on dodgy grounds, or nobbled by their own unions and all had piss poor service from those unions. If this was the train company or one of the engineering firms in Filton, everybody would’ve been out the gates by now. But anyway, here is a partial list of some of our nobbled class warriors, I salute them all, even the ones who contributed to their downfall.

1. R victimised. It was alleged he called managers ‘corrupt bastards’ when they gave themselves pay rises and handed around opportunities to each other like sweets.
2. M who suddenly found himself outsourced after campaigning against cuts.
3. A who was sacked for sickness but really because he was a rep.
4. M forced out of his union position for not being complimentary to a woman by email.
5. J sacked for threats but he maintains it was because he stood by his principles.
6. S redundancy bought forward before union elections making it impossible for him to campaign to win.
7. T downgraded after his own union recommended (in writing) that his job be provided differently.

I’ll keep you updated regarding any further shenanigans.

CUT TODAY FOR LABOUR VICTORY TOMORROW

Some excellent sleuthing by Momentum in the lead up to the Reverend’s Tory cuts budget at the end of February UNCOVERED what appeared to be an extra £9million being hosed into the council’s cash reserves for NO APPARENT REASON.

This £9million was the difference between what the council’s published financial risk assessment said was NEEDED in cash reserves and the amount of cash actually being PUT IN THERE.

But lo and behold! Just the day before the council’s budget meeting, a new risk assessment suddenly emerged, explaining the council actually needed a FURTHER £9million in cash reserves.

All very convenient, although the stench of the Reverend building a personal ELECTION WAR CHEST for 2020 at the expense of our public services now remains hanging heavily in the air.

Do look out for those Labour election treats, baubles and bribes in 2019 – 20 but try not to forget what they really cost us in terms of lost services and wrecked lives

LEADERSHIP WATCH

The Reverend Rees continues to demonstrate the leadership skills and sure touch that earned him a MISERABLE little middle management equalities officer post paper shuffling for the NHS. Was it there he perfected that ability to wear a shiny suit and talk utter shite?

A brief glance through the Reverend’s weak and cowardly Tory budget for the coming year reveals virtually every department at the council will be making CUTS. Or “efficiency savings” as the Great Helmsman demands we call them. Deploying weasel words in a sad attempt to fool us that his atrocious cuts WRECKING our public services will somehow be improvements to these services if he applies enough heavy-handed PR spin to them.

However, if we’re being strictly accurate, all council departments are making “efficiencies” except ONE. The exception being the Reverend’s very own EXECUTIVE OFFICE, which is receiving a £600k boost to its budget for next year. Although, if we’re to be consistent, shouldn’t this 25 per cent uplift to his own budget be called an “INEFFICIENCY SPEND“?

Does the Reverend think CUTTING everyone else’s budget while BOOSTING his own to afford more trips to Manhattan, China and Cannes and run a junket for ‘World Mayors’ here in Bristol is a good example of the ‘city leadership’ he’s forever banging on about? Did they teach him to be a GREEDY self-serving bastard on his wanky leadership course at Yale? Or is his ‘I’m all right Jack’ approach to leadership just another one of his many embarrassing PERSONAL FAILINGS?

Surely leadership is about leading from the front and ensuring that he takes, at least, his share of any cuts to ENCOURAGE and LEAD his colleagues in these harsh times?

Got to be better than blathering on about leadership while blatantly showing none.

UNISON: THE SORRY STATE by The Dwarf

Despite being the union that campaigned for an end to tribunal fees and won. Despite being the union that strikes for hospital workers, wins equal pay claims for cleaners and tries to prevent the outsourcing of care workers everywhere except Bristol. Despite having nearly all the cuts in this round of austerity aimed at those areas only they really have members in – Bristol Unison still refuse to do anything to oppose the cuts. That is, unless Mayor Marvin asks them to go on a demonstration against his own cuts. In which case out comes the banner in what could only be described as a giant blow struck for irony.

The cuts are coming in social services, children’s services, libraries and community services. All areas that are almost exclusively Unison and all are areas where member engagement, information exchange and political activism are non-existent. Meetings with unions have been cancelled, barrack room lawyers silenced in staff meetings, management have denied a plan to outsource libraries but then put out an email about mutualisation.

Does anyone remember the battles of the past? When disabled residents and unions lobbied noisily on the ramps of the Counts Louse? Where day centres were occupied and workers broke the blockade passing them fish and chips through the windows? Where library workers struck for the right to a family life? Where have the activists gone? I’m reliably informed that Unison hasn’t enough activists to fill a Renault Espace when they once numbered in the hundreds. They’re voting with their feet comrades … Wake up and get a grip.

I was told that regional officers consider the cuts to have been democratically arrived at and that is that, nothing more can be done. We at The BRISTOLIAN reject that sort of democracy. We want an engaged, participatory democracy of mutual solidarity and so should the unions. If we don’t get it then protest and actions must rightfully take place.

But here we come to the nub of the matter and that is the risk social and industrial agitation poses to the electoral prospects of the Labour Party. Occupying day centres and striking for work-life balance is OK as long as the Liberal Democrats or an Independent is in charge but not when it’s Labour.

Last year there was a scandal at Unison’s AGM as to whether Unison should affiliate to the anti-cuts groups – a no-brainer in anyone’s world assolidarity with people against the cuts should be ingrained. A self-appointed standing orders committee, which no one knew existed because it didn’t, ruled the motion incompetent. This year, the union’s members ruled their own representatives’ incompetent over a scandalous redundancy pay cut ballot stitch-up. And this was in front of a firebrand assistant general secretary, from head office, who was so embarrassed he didn’t know where to look.

Sorry, Roger McKenzie, that you had to see the union in such a sorry state.

BOSSES WAGES UP: ‘SAVINGS’ DOWN

When Labour councillors voted in November for a TEN PER CENT pay rise for the council’s senior bosses as part of an organisational restructure, they assured us that £750k would be saved by employing less bosses.

Alas, just a month later and with an internal consultation on these management changes underway for the next few months, news is SNEAKED OUT that savings will now only be £500k. And, of course, there’s no guarantee this figure won’t drop further before the restructure is complete.

Looks like it’s another con to increase wages at the top in exchange for fuck all.

UPDATE:
Oddly, an entirely different story emerged directly from the mouth of the Reverend Rees regarding these ‘savings’ (as opposed to the traditional term ‘cuts’).

When questioned this week about how much his new senior management structure would ‘save’ us, the Reverend claimed the figure had risen to £830K. Somewhat different to the £500k savings figure stated in his own finance report he signed off in December.

Relevant sections of the reports are here:

Meanwhile a presentation to the HR committee just today still claims the savings are £750k:

So where did this magical new pr-friendly £830k savings figure the mayor’s spouting come from? And why are the HR committee still being fed an old figure discredited in finance reports in December?

And what – to use the Reverend’s own farcical management-speak bollocks – is the “single version of the truth”?

FLY ON THE WALL: The ‘Save St. Marvin from His Plummeting Popularity’ Rally on College Green

The Fly: savouring Marvin’s shite

Enormous deposits of BULLSHIT were detected and tasted by The BRISTOLIAN’s six-legged friend flying overhead at Marvin’s ‘anti-austerity’ march and rally on Saturday September 9.

According to our blue-arsed correspondent, the vicar of Bristol and his collaborators in UNITE, UNISON, The Peoples’ Disassembly, ACORNYJOKE and the Labour Party made up a DISMAL, rain-bedraggled charade of no more than 2,000 on College Green.

It even included a big bouncy castle for speakers to jump up and down on while they whined infantile DRIVEL about ‘diversity’, ‘inclusiveness’, “hey, my dad was a Welsh miner and I was born in Southmead”, or “why I love Bristol” and other IRRELEVANT TOSH. Some of it even recounted in verse by ‘the city’s poet laureate’!

Every subject under the sun (or rain) was covered in fact. Except the one the march and rally was actually supposed to be about, namely AUSTERITY and THE CUTS. This ‘difficult’ subject was raised NOT ONCE by any of the OVERWHELMINGLY MIDDLE-CLASS speakers. One of whom was a LAWYER who offered WAGE-FREE LABOUR in her office to “any of you principled, under-employed folk out there who’d like some work experience”.

The sole rebellion against this pretentious downpour of excrement was offered by a small group of DISSIDENTS. During The Reverend’s speech, despite all attempts by UNITE stewards to thwart them, they repeatedly called St. Marvin out on: the fakery of his much-publicised ‘anti-austerity green paper’ submission to Theresa May (which doesn’t mention austerity once); his craven compliance with the Tory austerity programme when he could legally set a NO-CUTS BUDGET; the libraries and public toilets he’s closing; the social care programmes he’s shutting down; the park/street maintenance departments he’s stripping to the bone and the ILLEGAL ‘gate keeping’ of homeless categories currently being enforced at BCC’s Housing Department.

And all to pay for the continuing Metro/contractor disaster, his GOLDEN HANDSHAKES to the Dirty Thirty bosses; ever more ‘public-private partnerships’ with thieves and parasites and the hiring of a new generation of incompetent, six-figure salary ‘consultant’ twats to make even more of a mess at City Hall.

The REBELS were sorely put upon. First by ‘stewards’ trying to rip down a banner opposing Marvin’s cuts and, later, an enraged Momentum youth in a Jeremy Corbyn sweatshirt who tried to start a fight, before wisely thinking better of it.

In between her feast on the LASHINGS of BS spewed out through the stage microphone, The Fly observed a laughable attempt by one of Marv’s acolytes to silence the uproar, claiming the rebels were ‘failing to be inclusive to the hard-of-hearing group’! All of whom were, of course, straining to hear The Reverend’s every word.

Two of the disgruntled were also overheard wishing that they’d brought along a stanley knife or drill (as in ‘Driller Killer’, 1979??) to DEFLATE the rain shelter/bouncy castle over Marv’s head*. “Come better prepared next time”, buzzed The Fly as she savoured more of Marvellous’s shite.

*Of course The BRISTOLIAN warns that such a violent act could feasibly constitute a new ‘credible death threat’ to the embattled Mayor, instigating an ‘immediate investigation’ by the Stasi (ie. the UK Special Branch) – ed..

NEW YORK – LONDON – BRUSSELS – HARTCLIFFE

There was a very LOW KEY decision from the Vicar last month to continue spending £351k a year to keep open his Bristol City Council office in Brussels and to provide a nice little slush fund for his aimless mayoral trips abroad.

This will no doubt come as especially good news for residents of HARTCLIFFE, SOUTHMEAD, LAWRENCE WESTON and FISHPONDS. As, following his destructive Tory cuts budget that closed all neighbourhood Customer Service Points, the Reverend can now proudly boast that his council has an office open for business in Brussels but not in, er, Hartcliffe!

How convenient for paying the rent …