Mass rally for Northumberland car allowance scheme

UNISON held a successful mass rally in protest at Northumberland County Council’s termination of the Essential Car User Allowance Scheme.

The rally on 7 May was addressed by UNISON members affected by and involved in the dispute.

Labour Group Leader, Councillor Grant Davey agreed to sit down with the trade unions anew after 23 May 2013, and work together to come up with a solution that is fair to staff.

In the interim the action short of strike action will continue to take place.

This dispute has been long running and affects 400-500 staff who will be losing between £850 – £1,200 pa.

In addition staff are facing cuts to their car mileage rate. Staff will therefore be paying to use their own vehicles for their work at NCC.

The staff involved in the dispute carry out vital community support roles within the large and geographically varied county of Northumberland, and include social workers, planning officials, animal health inspectors, mobile caretakers, admin assistants and school support officers.

Following the termination of the scheme the council still expects staff to continue to use their own vehicles for work purposes. Staff involved will be refusing to use their own cars for work purposes and instead will be asking their managers to provide alternative transport.

This will mean that staff will be unable to take necessary equipment with them, and take service users on public transport.

Staff will also only be working their contracted hours.

Tony Martin, UNISON regional organiser, said: “Members do not vote to take industrial action lightly, but they feel that they have no alternative because of the employer’s intransigence and the continued erosion of their terms and conditions.

In the interim, members taking part in the action are being asked to ‘log’ additional journey times and the ‘costings’ incurred by the council on modes of alternative travel that managers are putting in place.

This evidence can be sent to: