A move by Labour led Luton Council to cut its 25 years long service award for staff from £568 to £200 has been delayed by Liberal Democrat councillors. When the plan was discussed by the Council’s Administration Committee on Monday evening (22nd November) instead of allowing the Committee to make the decision the question was referred by Lib Dem councillors for debate at a Full Council meeting.
Like many large and small employers Luton Council rewards employees who give 25 years continuous service with an award of shopping vouchers. The plan to reduce the award comes at a time when the Council is under pressure to shave millions of pounds off its budget.
“The Council has a turnover around £500M a year,” says Liberal Democrat councillor Anna Pedersen. “This mean-minded penny pinching spending cut will upset an already demoralised staff at the very time the Council needs their support, and all to save £16,194.”
“If this cut was going to make a significant contribution to solving the problem it might be worth thinking about but the budget problem is a huge mountain and the potential saving from this move is but a tiny grain of sand. If they are so desperate to save £16,000 they could cut the 87% pay rise they gave the Labour Leader.”
“The Council is going to have to lose around 500 people from the pay roll and obviously employees are concerned about their futures. It’s hard to think of a more effective way to further demoralise staff than to cut the reward for 25 years loyal and dedicated service by 65%.”