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Protest at Warrington Borough Council meeting
Updated 1:49pm Tuesday 10th September 2013 in News
This live event has finished
- Trade union members from GMB, Unison and Unite will protest at meeting
- Councillors are set to vote on plans to reduce number of top posts
- Council says it will save £200,000 but unions say some will get £10,000 pay rise in move
That brings the meeting to a close.
That has also been approved with full backing from the council.
Clr Terry O'Neill tells the meeting he hopes to tell payday loan companies they 'are not welcome in Warrington' as he urges council to back his plan to stop access to those companies websites on council computers.
Clr Russ Bowden added: "I'm not an advocate for censorship and control. But it's right that the council takes a stand."
It is passed unanimously.
A motion on reducing energy bills is receiving wide praise from councillors who are calling on the town's MPs to help push the Government spend revenues from carbon taxes on helping those in need help to cut their fuel bills.
After hearing from Clr Bob Barr who has seconded the motion the Mayor calls on the question to be discussed by the car parking strategy group before it is referred to the executive board.
Councillors are unanimous again in the vote.
Speaking on car parking charges Clr Brian Axcell said under new plans to charge 30p to park at car parks to take their child to school would face an extra £120 a year.
Councillors have voted unanimously in favour of the first motion to press government on sprinkler system fittings.
Next up the first of four motions will be discussed.
They will highlight the work of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in helping to fund sprinkler systems in high rise blocks.
Another controversial matter to be heard will be the car parking charges in Stockton Heath and Lymm.
Then councillors will discuss energy efficiency measures to reduce fuel bills.
And finally the council leader Clr Terry O'Neill will bring a motion to stop access to payday loan companies websites on all council computers.
Councillors are now raising questions of the administration with topics of climate change, exam results and school systems, the executive board fund uses and replacement bins.
The plans have been approved by councillors despite a number of abstentions and six objections from opposition members.
Clr Bob Barr (LD - Lymm) accused the administration of not selling their plans well enough.
"The proposals should have been explained by the executive board," he said.
He also questioned a number of councillor absences in the Labour ranks.
"You have a divided group and a group divided by its paymasters," added Clr Barr.
Conservative leader Clr Paul Kennedy said he would vote in favour of the plan after assessing the figures involved.
It is very bad timing when people aren't getting pay rises. Over time we are going to have similar situations again when people move on and we have to make tough decisions.
Clr Keith Gleave (LD - Whittle Hall) said he would be voting against the proposals.
"I have no issues with the senior managers. I do however feel it does smack of mistreatment in that a number of senior mangers are receiving pay increases when the majority have been receiving nothing."
Clr Hitesh Patel told councillors: "We have two duties - one is to serve the public and the other is to act as a responsible employer. I hope we can do both.
"This report will save the council £200,000 that can be used to invest or at least protect frontline services."
The management structure is about to be discussed. Council officers affected are leaving the room.
The Mayor of Warrington, Clr Peter Carey, is chairing the meeting and both he and council leader speed through their announcements because of a lengthy agenda.
The rain is falling at the Town Hall but the noise from the protestors can still be heard.
The meeting is getting under way with thoughts from the Mayor's chaplain The Reverend Stephen Kingsnorth.
Pam Howard, joint branch secretary for Unison has taken her seat in the public section of the meeting room.
She had been conducting the protestors by megaphone on the Town Hall lawn earlier.
Our staff are totally demoralised with the proposals. There are tough times ahead with £15million savings next year.
The council meeting is set to start at 6.30pm and councillors are filling the council chamber.
The sounds of the protestors horns can be heard occasionally above the noise of the room.
6:04pm Mon 9 Sep 13
Senior managers of the Council have let those complaining this evening d down as much as they have the people of Warrington. To award the remaining senior managers increases under the pretext of saving money is not only immoral but it fails to take account of the obvious managerial shortcomings that have bugged the proper functioning of Council and its staff for years.
Among the staff turning out to protest was Eddie Cooper, aged 59, who works in the council's refuse department.
He said: "I don't think it's fair. Some staff have had job evaluations and lost money. Those people are in debt now struggling to pay their bills."
GMB branch secretary Bob Pinnock is on the Town Hall lawn with dozens of council staff who have turned out to protest.
He is expecting up to 100 people to turn up to the protest this evening.
But Mr Pinnock does not expect the strong show of anger from staff will change the new management structure from going through.
"With the attitude of this Labour administration we fully expect for them to get this plan approved," he said.
"Had we still had the previous administration this would never have happened. We had a better relationship with the Lib Dems and Conservatives when they were in power."
And here is what Clr Hitesh Patel, executive member at Warrington Borough Council, said in response.
We've had to cut council spending so we've cut the number of senior management posts. That necessarily means some senior managers have more responsibilities than previously
Here is what Jason Horan, Unison boss at Warrington Borough Council, said last week about the matter.
"The senior management pay increases are both immoral and inappropriate at a period of sustained austerity and increased reduction of staff to deliver vital public services in Warrington".
We are not expecting any Labour rebellions to the vote tonight. It is understood Kevin Bennett, who famously voted against the budget in February, will be absent from tonight's meeting which starts at 6.30pm
We have set up an online vote so you can have your say.
We want to hear your thoughts throughout the meeting.
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Union chiefs are angry about a new pay structure which will see one senior director being paid an extra £10k a year.
They have called it immoral.
Council bosses say by not filling another director's post and other top level jobs, they have saved £200k.
Welcome to our blog on tonight's meeting of Warrington Borough Council. With protests from union supporters on the Town Hall lawn, it promises to be an interesting one. You can follow live updates throughout the meeting.
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