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Issue Date:- 7 July 2008

NW UNISON boss criticises pay awards for failing City fat cats

LOCAL government workers gearing up for a 2 day strike over pay are calling on Chancellor Alistair Darling to repeat what he said on national radio to employers refusing to meet their claim.

The boss of the Government’s purse strings told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he believes people should be given the right incentives to succeed in what they’re doing.  And whether they’re on the Board of Directors, a Chief Executive of a bank or a Regulator, their incentives must be to make sure they do their job.  He made the comments during an interview about the row over the outgoing Chairman of the Financial Services Authority Callum McCarthy receiving an 11% pay rise despite major failings at the regulator.

UNISON’s North West regional secretary Frank Hont said the disparities in pay between the likes of Callum McCarthy on £480,553 and many UNISON members on £12,000 a year was obscene.  By May this year, bankers and financiers had taken a record of £12.6 billion in bonuses.

Mr Hont said:- “Company directors keep receiving double digit percentage increases even when their businesses are performing badly.  At a time local government workers are moving towards two days’ action over pay, the FSA chair received an 11% rise even though he was heavily criticised by MPs for failing to spot the Northern Rock problems.  The LGA chair himself admits government figures show councils are the most efficient part of the public sector, making efficiency savings of around £1bn a year. The Audit Commission recently said councils are performing better than ever before.  Yet the 2.45% offer made to our members amounts to a pay cut because it is substantially below the rate of inflation whilst City fat cats are being rewarded for failing to deliver.“


THE safer Stronger Communities partnership have developed a youth engagement event entitled 'Sound Waves'. The event will be held over two weekends. the first one was held on 5 July and the next one will be run on the 12 July 2008 at Southport's 'Splash World'.   Youths at the next event (12 July) will again be allowed access and use of the pool facilities and then be entertained by local musicians.

It is hoped that these events will attract local youths and therefore minimise the possibility of any incidents of anti social behaviour that may have otherwise occurred if left to roam the Town Centre.  If this event is successful I believe that plans are afoot to make this event a permanent fixture for the future so please support this activity. What are your views, email us to

Holiday plans on hold as job insecurities and work pressures increase

SUMMER holiday plans are in disarray as redundancy fears and the pressure to deliver results begins to take its toll across the North West. According to the latest research from the Chartered Management Institute, many of the region’s executives have postponed holiday plans and, even if they do go away, many refuse to stop working.

The survey shows that 43% of executives in the North West will not use their full holiday entitlement this year, preferring tocarry days overto 2009. The finding comes against a backdrop of redundancy rates doubling, to 3%, over the past year and 23% of employers admitting their staff fear restructuring and job insecurity.  The survey also indicates thatbelt tightening is taking place at a business and personal level. For example, rather than spend money on a holiday, 37% of individuals in the region want to exchange unused holiday time for cash, but only 15% of employers agree to this. Private healthcare is also sought in exchange for annual leave, yet just 3% of organisations agree to the swap.

Respondents in the North West are also blaming a lack of support from employers for theirlack of rest. Asked why they are unable to take their full holiday entitlement, 43% cited extensive workloads. 40% also claimed they have to use holiday time to care for dependents. Just 12% said they have the option to give back unused holiday for flexible working options.  The survey goes on to show that holiday plans have been affected by the region’s executives’ determination to remain employable. For example, 27% in the North West use their holiday entitlement to develop skills making them recession proof, 58% don’t want to let clients or colleagues down and 33% are focused onmeeting project deadlines.

Even if they do go on holiday, significant proportions continue to work. The survey reveals that 37% in the region regularly check work emails and 32% dial-in to pick up voicemail messages. 1 in 5 also argue that it is a good time to catch up on background reading.

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, says:- “There is clearly a fear that ‘out of sight means out of mind’ but without a proper break individual performance can suffer and employers will notice mistakes more than they will absence through holiday. Individuals need to recognise this and use holiday time to recharge their batteries.”

According to the survey, there are signs that individuals recognise the value of holidays, even if they fail to follow their own advice. 75% of those in the North West actively encourage team members to use their full entitlement and 90% say it helps refresh their enthusiasm for work. Asked about the impact of their line manager going on holiday, 56% see it as a positive opportunity to take on more responsibility and 43% enjoy the chance to work more closely with senior managers.

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