Wednesday, 21 October 2009

‘Disappointment’ and ‘dismay’ as strike deal is rejected

The leader and deputy leader of Leeds City Council have both expressed their significant disappointment and dismay after striking bin workers rejected a deal to get them back to work.

Staff from the city’s street scene and refuse collection teams voted against the council’s proposals during a series of meetings this afternoon.

It means a seven week-long walkout is likely to continue.

Councillor Richard Brett, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“I simply do not understand why workers have rejected what was an excellent offer.

“With hard work we had found a way of addressing the pay gap for the majority of staff which was the primary reason given for the strike in the first place.

“Therefore, it’s clear to me now that the dispute is no longer principally to do with money – it’s about productivity and efficiency.

“The council made it clear that this offer was the only one on the table.”

Councillor Andrew Carter, joint leader, said:

“I am dismayed that these employees have rejected the council’s offer.

“It is wrong that Leeds has a refuse collection service that is 20 per cent less efficient than many other councils – an inefficiency that equates to approximately £2 million.

“That is why we were very happy to put a proposal on the table that dealt with the pay gap issue, as long as the workforce delivered the required productivity in return.“

The council’s proposals meant pay losses will be reduced from £4,491 to just £231 a year for the biggest group of staff, if performance targets are met.

Once pay protection ends in January 2011, refuse collectors would have switched to a new salary package earning £18,706 a year. The new salary for refuse drivers would have been £21,616.

Another 90 de-litterers and community caretakers, would have had losses of £2,163 converted into gains of £378 under the deal and gully tank attendants, who stood to be £1,755 a year worse off, would have had their losses reduced to just £52 via the introduction of an enhanced out-of-hours service.

The council’s proposals were linked to reducing the current average of 29 days sickness across the street cleaning and refuse collection teams as well as productivity improvements and efficiencies being achieved.

Ends

For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Talking ‘bout my generation

Consultation was never so much fun – young people will be able to spin the decks and have a go on a Wii as part of an event aimed at giving them the best start in their young lives.

East North East Homes Leeds’ annual youth event, Talking About My Generation – Diversity 2009 will take place at the Halo nightclub on Woodhouse Lane on Friday 30 October, and spaces are still available.

The event, which will run from 10.30am to 2.30pm, is due to celebrate the work that young people have been involved in throughout the year and is a great opportunity for those who are thinking about further education, potential career prospects and are looking to set up a home in the near future.

This year's event - put together by the ENEHL Equality and Diversity team - includes an interactive consultation, the chance to take part in various activities including DJing, Wii games, jewellery making and beauty treatments.

Lunch will be being provided and there will also be a free raffle with the chance to win some fantastic prizes including an Apple iPod Shuffle, shopping vouchers and many more.

The event is aimed at young people aged between 13 to 19. To book a place, pick up a permission slip from a local youth club or school, or contact Chris or Kam on 0113 247 6127.

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds, said:
“Organisers are looking forward to an interesting and enjoyable event, the conference has been organised by young people, for young people, so it will be discussing issues that will be relevant to the audience.
“So I'd urge anybody who wants to come to complete a permission slip as soon as possible."

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937
Email: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds Libraries are live and tweeting away

Leeds Libraries now have live Facebook and Twitter pages under the alias ‘leedslibraries’ so people can keep up to date with what is happening across their services.

By becoming a fan on Facebook or following them on Twitter, people will be able to access details of upcoming events in libraries across Leeds as well as photos of recent events, book reviews and information about the different library services.

Both pages will be used to showcase the wide variety of services and information that the libraries across Leeds can offer, from jobseekers’ sessions to basic computer skills courses in Arabic, Polish, Urdu and many other languages.

Along with this information, details about upcoming literature festivals and arts-related events in Leeds will also be posted.

Keep up to date with what is happening at libraries near you by visiting www.facebook.com/leedslibraries or www.twitter.com/leedslibraries

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“Leeds Libraries getting involved in social media is a brilliant way for them to reach out to a wide audience and keep all their customers up to date with all the information they need, be it information on services or upcoming events.”

For more information about Leeds Libraries visit www.leeds.gov.uk/libraries


Ends

For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn, Leeds City Council press office,
on 0113 247 8285
Email: catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk