Tag Archives: Redundancy

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.

BULLY CHENEY’S LAME SPIN MACHINE FORGETS TO TELL US THE TRUTH

Cheney: always research and clarify as he may be talking bollocks

The Reverend Rees’s rookie finance chief, Craig “Crapita” Cheney, has issued a bizarre and slightly mental statement attacking the Bristol Cable after they published an article this week claiming the Reverend was employing MORE – not less – bosses at the council on salaries of £50k a year or more.

In a meandering outburst lacking in either PRECISION or CLARITY – and obviously written by arse-covering council managers for him – Cheney fails to CONFIRM or DENY the accuracy of the Cable’s central claim. Instead he ATTACKS the paper for quoting information he personally signed off as accurate and complete and ready for public consumption.

“The MISTAKE [The Cable] made is in the READING of a table of data contained in the council’s draft annual statement of accounts,” Cheney spins with a straight face. Of course, how silly of people to read the data Cheney supplied in his accounts! That’s not what a published “table of data” is for at all is it? Cheney then cheerily slags the Cable for “not approaching the council to RESEARCH and CLARIFY the nature of that data.”

Er, why would they? Is Cheney claiming anything he publishes needs to be researched and clarified because it’s probably a load of BOLLOCKS? Is this not a little time-consuming for a council claiming to be struggling to resource basic public services and confusing for journalists who might think information provided by a local authority finance department in their Statement of Accounts is ACCURATE and COMPLETE?

Cheney’s contention is that his “table does not reflect the number of council employees who receive a basic salary of £50,000 or more per year as was reported” because it includes low paid staff who received large redundancy pay-offs last year. On the basis of this THIN CLAIM, Cheney then demands an APOLOGY from the Cable while dismally failing to publish information that does accurately “reflect the number of council employees who receive a basic salary of £50,000 or more”!

Cheney’s demand for an apology is deranged for, at least, two reasons. First, the error is down to Cheney’s own SLOPPINESS and INABILITY to present information unambiguously and accurately. For some reason, the chump has departed from the usual custom and good practice of previous years and not stated in his accounts the number of employees earning £50k or more only because they were in receipt of large payments last year for ‘loss of office’. Why?

Moreover, despite taking the time to issue his long, rambling and self-serving statement, Cheney chooses NOT to correct his schoolboy presentation errors properly. Where’s the unequivocal clarification of how many of the 222 staff listed as earning £50k plus last year are only listed due to their redundancy payments and how many are receiving a salary every year in excess of £50k? Why is Cheney so coy about providing this SIMPLE INFORMATION in his daft attempt at aggressive rebuttal?

This leads to the second reason why Cheney’s demand for an apology is ridiculous. He hasn’t REBUTTED the Cable’s main claim – that the city council is employing MORE staff on £50k a year than they were a year ago! Are they or aren’t they? Cheney must know.

The Cable needs to tell Cheney, Rees and the Labour Party bullies to fuck off and provide the FULL PICTURE they have on these salaries. Like the council has managed to do in every other year they’ve published salary information.

What’s the big secret this year?

CENSORSHIP WATCH: THE BRISTOL CABLE

 

In an unprecedented move, Bristol’s co-operatively owned indie newspaper, The Bristol Cable, has REMOVED an entirely accurate article from its website following COMPLAINTS from the Reverend Rees and his bent coterie of very shy high-earning council bosses.

The article, published YESTERDAY, drew attention to a the council’s Draft Statement of Accounts, originally highlighted by the Bristol News Facebook page last week, that the Reverend’s council was employing more people on salaries exceeding £50k a year than they were a year ago.

The Reverend failed to comment to the Cable yesterday but did tell a Full Council meeting last night that the salary figures in his Statement of Accounts were INACCURATE and MISLEADING because they included the redundancy payments received by departing bosses.

This seems UNLIKELY since the Rev’s statement doesn’t list the gross salaries and benefits of his highly paid managers but the general ‘Remuneration Band’ they fall within. A ‘Remuneration Band’ would not ordinarily include one-off redundancy payments.

And if it did, why aren’t the twenty-one high-earning bosses – who shared out £2.5MILLION between them in redundancy pay-offs last year – listed and named in the report as earning over £150k last year as the law requires?

Regardless of these facts, the Cable has pulled the article and replaced it with the following statement: ***PLEASE NOTE THIS ARTICLE IS SUBJECT TO A COMPLAINT AND UNDER REVIEW***

Why has this article been pulled? It’s based on figures published in June by the council that were signed off by their Audit Committee on 27 June. If the figures are wrong, it’s the council’s job to explain this and publicly correct them. There is absolutely NO PRECEDENT or GOOD REASON for The Cable to pull a whole article published in good faith quoting publicly available official figures. Especially when these figures are yet to be formally denied anywhere as inaccurate.

It’s also laughable that The Rev Rees has put out a call across the city for “ideas” to deal with his budget deficit. However, when an “idea” involving not paying his bosses such large sums of money for sod-all appears, he tries to ban it!

If Bristol City Council wishes to attempt to censor information that makes the mayor look like a powerless twerp, then that’s their affair. But why are the Bristol Cable making fools of themselves by being bullied into supporting the council in their efforts to censor the truth?

The Cable article, obtained from the web’s cache is published below:

331 employees are now paid an annual basic pay of between £50,000 and £124,000, compared to 216 people in the financial year of 2015/16.

At the same time as general public sector pay caps and cuts has battered the council, almost every band of executive salaries at the council has seen an increase in numbers in the past year. Of the 21 senior pay categories that changed over the year, 18 have seen increases in the number of staff receiving top salaries.

These figures include the £160,000 a year council chief executive Anna Klonowski. It also includes at least three other executives who have seen their pay packets swell over the year by around £7,000 each, taking them to well above £160,000 a year including pension contributions.

Under pressure for implementing drastic cuts, Mayor Marvin Rees, who was elected in May 2016 has challenged anti-cuts protesters to come up with solutions, rather than just criticise. Defending the council positions on cuts, Mr Rees has written: “If we do not make a saving in one area we have to make it in another area. The consequence of one person’s priority is the de-prioritisation of another person’s priority.”

Responding to this latest information, Tom Whittaker a spokesperson from Bristol People’s Assembly, a coalition of trade unions and activists, said: “Clearly there can be no justification for executive pay rises when services are being cut, when many of Bristol’s poorest residents are struggling to survive under the impact of austerity and when ordinary council workers are enduring a long pay freeze.”

Mayor Rees was asked what involvement he had in these decisions, and how it fitted with his priorities agenda. He did not respond to the request.

The figures come from the 2016/17 unaudited annual accounts published by the council, available here.

Stop Press: TREBLES ALL ROUND AS RUNAWAY COUNCIL MANAGERS TROUSER A WEDGE!

Rumours of a Shitty Hall meltdown emerge as news reaches your caring, sharing BRISTOLIAN that no less than THREE senior Bristol City Council senior managers sensationally QUIT last week.

All – apparently – are unable to work any longer in Mayor Fergo’s shambolic ‘rule-by-Twitter’ and ‘manage-by-foolish-announcement-on-BBC-Radio-Bristol’ regime. Sources in the council have also revealed to us that these exits are being accompanied by UNUSUALLY LARGE CASH PAYMENTS from our cash-strapped council to some of the quitters.

The quitters so far identified to The BRISTOLIAN include senior finance boss, Peter ‘Robbin-us’ Robinson; communications boss, Peter ‘Claudia-Jean’ Holt and belly-flopping major projects manager Alun ‘It’s a Fuck Up’ Owen, the man in charge of the rubbish BRT project and who tried, a few years ago, to swap – with the city’s wealthiest man – a piece of our land at Ashton Gate worth millions for a few hundred cut-price health club memberships. A deal he laughably described as “good value”.

In a further extraordinary twist, a source has confirmed to The BRISTOLIAN that Peter Robbin-us, who fled for the shires on Friday, was handed £50,0000 of our money as he went out of the door. This is unusual as Robbin-us, who voluntarily resigned to take up a post in Hereford – deep in the Tory shires where, traditionally, bent accountants have oiled the wheels of commerce and power – would not usually be entitled to a redundancy payment. How many times have you voluntarily put in notice to take up another job and then been rewarded with a massive redundancy payment?

And even if this was a redundancy payment, the amount involved has raised eyebrows. Just three years ago, the council’s former Chief Exec, the BRADFORD SUN QUEEN, Jan Ormondroyd introduced strict limits on redundancy payments to senior managers ensuring all payments were capped to reflect a pay maximum of £35,0000 a year, less than half Robbin-us’s generous wage. So even in the unlikely event Robbin-us was entitled to the maximum amount of redundancy over the maximum time period, he’s still received an amount of our money some 50% over his entitlement!

Our source confirms that this is because Robbin-us did not receive redundancy at all. Instead he was paid handsomely for signing a COMPROMISE AGREEMENT with a convenient GAGGING CLAUSE agreed by Mayor Fergo’s new City Director Nicola ‘LADY GAGA’ Yates, who has a bit of form for shutting her staff up. Such agreements should be used to settle genuine legal disputes not cover-up dodgy public money payments to senior bosses. However, any details of this agreement are conveniently now secret thanks to this little clause in the deal:

Secrecy

What a joke! Bristol City Council has effectively GAGGED ITSELF from discussing with the public, its councillors or journalists its own dodgy pay outs to its former managers. Where’s the accountability? This news comes just a few months after a national scandal over the city’s excessive use of compromise deals to gag staff, which had senior managers assuring councillors that these deals  “are only ever used in exceptional circumstances”.

Yeah. An exceptional circumstance like when they want to give one of their mates a generous, top secret pay-off.

Staff at the council, meanwhile, are said to be livid at the deal. Robin-us’s reputation at Shitty Hall is appalling. In the last year he’s purchased a new finance system from Agilisys, “one of the UK’s most innovative IT and business services providers”, as part of a £40m outsourcing deal, which has been described to the BRISTOLIAN reliably as, “a load of shit that doesn’t work … that must have been bought by a cretin who’s never operated a computer before”.

He’s also DELIBERATELY DRAGGED HIS FEET over locating £165k missing from the council’s Markets Service (BRISTOLIAN passim). Insiders tell us, “he’s more interested in COVERING HIS MIDDLE MANAGEMENT CRONIES’ ARSES than the sound management of public money.”

While so degraded was Robin-us’s financial management culture that his own internal auditors, responsible for investigating irregularity, fraud and corruption, are now openly admitting that they can no longer protect whistleblowers from what’s been described to us as A SLEAZY CULTURE OF MANAGEMENT BULLYING AND COVER-UP”.

So, while kids go hungry, families queue at food banks and our streets remain uncleaned you can rest assured that our local authority’s former senior managers are all doing just fine, thanks.

SEE The BRISTOLIAN #4.7 (out in October) FOR EVEN MORE:

  • Robin-us’s parting shot the finance boss’s exit plan to slash our services and create a Barnet-style ‘easyCouncil’
  • The Sun Queen’s pay-offhow Jan Ormondroyd avoided her own redundancy rules to trouser her own secret wedge