‘Council of the year’ gives its staff a day off

Greenwich Time, 19 March 2013Happy days for Greenwich Council staff, as it’s emerged they’re all being given an extra day off to mark the authority winning the “council of the year” prize from the Local Government Chronicle industry mag a couple of weeks ago.

No doubt it’ll come as a welcome respite from the regime of cuts, cuts, cuts at the council, including a threat to sign new contracts or be sacked, and a new computer system that’s been working so poorly it’s seriously disrupted the council’s business.

Not so fortunate, though, are staff of council contractor GS Plus, the firm which employs many people carrying out council services, including drivers, cleaners and caterers.

The council’s directly-employed staff benefit from the minimum £8.55/hour London Living Wage – as endorsed by Boris Johnson, no less – but there’s no such luck for GS Plus staff, eight out of 10 of whom live within the borough. It’s a big miss, and means Greenwich doesn’t qualify as a living wage employer, unlike its neighbours Lewisham and Southwark.

What can be done? A report to be presented to councillors next month will only say that GS Plus “is currently exploring the cost of maintaining London Living Wage with the council”.

Perhaps the council could discuss this further with GS Plus’s chairman, council deputy leader Peter Brooks, and its owner, the Royal Borough of Greenwich – somehow, they might be able to sort something out…

10 comments

  1. Can anyone enlighten us a little more about deputy leader Brooks and his cosy directorship ?

  2. @Matty , Like what you did with the enlighten thing , very good.
    You don’t think the deputy leader being director of an agency that has multiple council contracts sounds a little “cosy” ?

  3. Congratulations to Greenwich Council on winning the LGC Award – there is no doubt that Greenwich has some tremendous achievements and good services but there are areas to improve. You highlight the London Living wage, this was a manifesto commitment for Labour and it is not just about council employees but all contractors working for the the council – adopting the LLW will make a huge difference to alleviate poverty and – in over a 2-3 year period, will actually pay for itself. Let’s hope an announcement is imminent.

  4. Why do people talk in riddles ?

    If you think there is a conflict of interest , why don’t you say so and raise it with whoever you think is appropriate ?

  5. Winning Council of the Year must rank up there with other prizes such as World’s Tallest Dwarf.

  6. Guy
    No, it doesn’t sound “cosy” because I suspect that this directorship is unpaid. Councillors hold unpaid directorships and other governing positions in all kinds of bodies eg law centres, enterprise boards etc

  7. […] It’s worth pointing out that zero hours contracts aren’t all works of evil. They work for freelancers working from home on multiple jobs, for example. But when governments want to shove people into them to get them off the dole, that’s when they’re wrong – and as union leader Onay Kasab points out to Crick, there are council contractors who are paying zero hours contracts for what should be proper part or full time jobs. Just like where Greenwich Council-owned contractors still don’t pay their staff living wages. […]

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