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STAFF MARCH TO PROTEST AT CUTS

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Over 300 council members of staff demonstrated outside Hackney town hall in protest over a meeting intended to agr...
Over 300 council members of staff demonstrated outside Hackney town hall in protest over a meeting intended to agree to slash services by a third.

The move follows the imposition of five government directions on Hackney LBC (LGC, 21 September).

The council is required to balance its budget without additional government support, among a number of other stipulations, and members propose cutting services outside education and social services by up to a third to balance its books.

Unison branch secretary John Page said: 'All the councillors have been told if they don't meet this direction they will be in breech of the law. But unfortunately they have not been advised that if they do meet that direction they will almost certainly be failing to deliver statutory services they are also required to deliver.'

Mr Page said if the council went ahead with the cuts the prospect of a legal challenge was in the pipeline.

A spokesman for the council said: 'The directions will in no way prevent the council from meeting its statutory obligations as a local authority and it would be entirely inappropriate for Unison to seek a

judicial review.'

The council has until 30 November to tell central government how it will respond to this direction. It deferred finalising the decision on cuts to the end of the month.

n Hackney Unison members are balloting for industrial action over the council's refusal to pay Saturday enhancements.

'This particularly affects library staff,' said Mr Page. 'We are expecting that if the council won't pay the nationally agreed rate for the job, then the only option left to us is to withdraw our labour. We anti-

cipate a series of Saturday strikes until the council backs down.'

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