Campaigning for Part-Time Workers Rights

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2013 Local Government Service Group Conference
19 February 2013

Conference recognises that over half of all local government employees work part-time and that nine out of ten of them are women. Over the past seven years the proportion of part-time workers in local government has risen as councils have come under increasing pressure to save money.

The three-year pay freeze means that part-time hourly earnings are now worth 15% less than they were in 2010. A quarter of part-timers in local government earn less than £6.63 per hour and half earn less than £8.01 per hour. Many part-time local government workers need benefits and tax credits to keep their families out of poverty. As redundancies and cuts to terms and conditions in local government bite, part-time staff are being forced to take on more work for even fewer hours and less pay. Many are being forced to work part-time because full-time hours are not available.

Changes to the criteria for receiving tax credits, mean that many working part-time in local government are involuntarily losing out. Under Universal Credit, new conditions will be placed on in-work benefits so that employees earning less than £212.80 per week will be obliged to work more hours or face sanctions.

This is in addition to other challenges part time workers face – lack of career development and career paths, inability to work part-time in senior jobs and privatisation.

Conference believes it is essential that councils provide equal rights and effective career paths for part time and term-time workers and comply with the Part-Time Workers Regulations. Skills pathways will help address skills shortages and lessen dependence on agency working. Widening part time working opportunities will narrow the gender pay gap, reduce occupational segregation and liability for equal pay claims. This must also apply to part time workers who work for contractors.

Conference welcomes the campaign being developed by the Local Government Service Group to alert part time workers to their employment rights and promote a positive part time local government agenda. Conference therefore calls upon the SGE to promote the campaign on these issues through the NJC and SJC and other bargaining groups in local government by:

1)Providing advice and guidance for part time members on their employment rights and alerting them to the impact of government austerity measures

2) Urging local government employers to make every conceivable effort to enable part-time workers to work the requisite number of hours in order to claim working tax credits and pay them a living wage

3) Developing strategies to provide quality part-time and flexible working available to all through negotiations

4) Ensuring equal access to training and promotional opportunities for part-time, term time and flexible workers through negotiations

5) Ensuring that part-time and term-time only workers’ terms and conditions match those of full-time working colleagues

6) Developing recruitment strategies to ensure that part time workers are recruited and properly represented throughout the union