Managers at Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC have been accused of “holding a loaded pistol to people’s heads” as it negotiates changes to terms and conditions.
Employees were called to a meeting on Wednesday and told that they were all at risk of redundancy after the councils issued a section 188 notice, union officals said.
While the union has criticised management for issuing the notice when negotiations had “scarcely begun”, the council has expressed disappointment at the union’s behaviour during negotiations.
Gareth Morgan, GMB officer in South Wales, said the council was forcing staff to accept changes including reduced sick pay, mileage allowance and changes to special allowances such as weekend rates.
Mr Morgan also told LGC that the Labour-controlled council wanted to renege on a deal which would see single status changes backdated, with implementation to start in June 2011 and not April 2008.
He also feared that protection for employees whose pay was reduced as a result of the equal pay job evaluation process would no longer be available.
Mr Morgan said Conservative and Liberal Democrat councils in Walsall, Birmingham and Sheffield were “treating their staff like dirt” but he was very disappointed that a Labour council was “using a legal device of pretending to make all their workforce redundant and offering some of them re-employment on worse pay and conditions”.
He added: “It’s like holding a loaded pistol to people’s heads to force them to accept detrimental change or be out of a job with no compensation. We have scarcely begun discussions and we face this lockout threat.”
A spokeswoman for the council said a formal consultation had begun with unions and staff on the changes to terms and conditions which, it is hoped, could eliminate the need for redundancies as the council attempts to fill a £60m shortfall over the next three years.
She added: “The council is disappointed to receive such a reaction from GMB at such an early and sensitive stage in proceedings. We hope we can continue to work with the GMB and the other trade unions during this difficult time to ensure we protect local jobs and important public services.”