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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Council union not in favour of leader's increase

A TRADE union which has one of its biggest memberships at Sellafield says it is not in favour of Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn receiving her £6,606 special responsibility allowance in the year ahead.

The Whitehaven-based GMB organiser Kevin Young said: “In terms of getting the going rate for a council leader it is the right decision, but it couldn’t have been made at a worst time.

“Mindful of the fact that GMB members have already lost their jobs in Copeland Council over the last year, I’d be eternally optimistic to think that more won’t be made redundant in the future.

“With the threat of redundancies, perhaps over the next three years, we are disappointed that the council should vote in Elaine’s increase.

“On top of the redundancy threat is another fact; our GMB employees in Copeland, have had their pay frozen.

“So as far as the GMB is concerned it was the wrong time to implement the increase. Had the council voted in favour of an increases but putting it in abeyance for better times, then I don’t think our members would have a problem.”

Some of the Labour councillors who voted in the leader’s 30 per cent rise are members of the GMB.

Mr Young, himself a former Copeland Labour councillor before joining the Independent ranks representing Distington, said: “They obviously had to balance arguments and in the end made personal choices. Elected members have tough decisions to make but, as I say, this was the right one at the wrong time.”

A Copeland Council spokesman said that all local authority employees were having their pay frozen over the next two years.

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