SHEFFIELD social housing staff walked out yesterday to protest against a council restructuring plan that they say will slash wages and worsen working conditions.
The two-and-a-half-hour action allowed strikers to demonstrate outside Sheffield Town Hall, where the city’s monthly full council meeting was taking place.
General union GMB, which represents 200 of the council’s 900 social housing staff, said that the Labour-controlled council’s planned restructuring would adversely affect 300 of 900 staff.
The council “wants the staff on lower pay, losing £4,000 a year — that is for relatively low-paid staff — while managers will get increases of up to £9,000 a year,” said GMB regional officer Peter Davies.
“I have been unable to have a conversation with councillors. We have only met officials.
“They have called in [arbitration service] Acas for January 20. We have been calling for this for months. It is appalling behaviour from a Labour local authority which is supposed to protect working conditions.”
Mr Davies said that the staff included housing officers and workers providing community services.
Sheffield City Council director of human resources Julie Toner insisted the council wanted “to provide a better service for our tenants and leaseholders,” and that feedback from tenants was positive.
“We have been consulting with staff and the unions for more than 12 months about the changes,” she said.
“We will continue to discuss the proposals, including with GMB, and hope to resolve the issues quickly.”