EXCL Labour bosses condemned after failing to meet staff over their pay demands

Posted On: 
31st January 2019

Labour bosses have been condemned for failing to meet with staff to discuss their pay demands.

Labour general secretary Jennie Formby is a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn.
Credit: 
PA Images

Union representatives submitted their claim to management - which is headed by Labour general secretary Jennie Formby - in October last year.

But an email sent to party staff who are members of the GMB said there had been "little progression" since then.

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News of the delay in settling the pay claim comes just weeks after it emerged Labour staff were told shortly before Christmas that their pension entitlement could be cut amid concerns the party is running low on cash.

The pay claim was submitted by the Joint Trade Union Convenors, officials who negotiate staff pay on behalf of the GMB and Unite.

The email to staff, a copy of which has been passed to PoliticsHome, says: "While there is little progression to update members, branch officers and reps felt it was important to communicate the current situation regarding pay and pensions.

"The JTUC have been trying to meet with management to discuss the pay request, which was submitted in October 2018, alongside other issues. Our reps have been working alongside Unite colleagues to arrange a meeting but it has not been forthcoming.

"The latest communication received by our workplace representatives says that a meeting will be arranged in early February. Previously the pay rise has been backdated to January of the relevant year and management has indicated a commitment to the principle of backdating in 2019."

The email adds: "Once we have any further information regarding the pay offer we will update all branch members. If no meeting date is set between the JTUC and management by mid-February, we will hold a branch meeting to discuss how to proceed."

'FAILING EMPLOYEES'

A Labour source told PoliticsHome: "Jennie Formby and Jeremy Corbyn have spent their lives campaigning for workers' rights, but by refusing to meet with staff trade unions to discuss a new pay deal it feels like they are failing to look after their own employees.

"If a general election is called staff will work day and night to put Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street. The least Labour's leadership could do is sit down with staff to discuss our pay.

"After announcing cuts to staff pensions before Christmas, a freeze on new staff being recruited and now no prospect of a pay rise, staff are worried that the party is running short of money and beginning to wonder if jobs are at risk."

Another Labour insider said: "The management of the Labour party like to talk about Britain ‘deserving a pay rise’ but are refusing to even meet with union reps to discuss the pay of party staff. You’d think there would be plenty of money from the increased membership to fund a modest increase."

Labour insisted Jennie Formby has been actively seeking a meeting with the trade union representatives.

A party spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on staffing matters, but it’s simply not true to say the general secretary has refused to meet with staff unions and representatives over pay.

"The Labour party values the relationship with its staff unions and treats pay negotiations confidentially and with respect."