Independent Councillor Padraig McShane following Tuesday evening virtual Causeway Coast & Glens council meeting, has called out Unionists and Council over furloughing staff leading to a 20% cut to their wages.
As per the governments Job Retentions Scheme, workers can receive 80% of their wages, which are paid to their employers by the government, if they are signed up to the scheme. It is then up to their employers if they wish to make up the other 20%, but this is not mandatory.
At Tuesday evenings council meeting, a proposal was brought forward to furlough staff not currently required. An amendment was tabled however by Sinn Fein and supported by SDLP, Alliance & independent Councillor McShane, to top this up to 100% from the 80% currently set out in the government scheme.
Speaking following the virtual meeting, Cllr Padraig McShane took to social media, posting:
“Unionism and financial mismanagement in Causeway Coast and Glens is furloughing workers with a twenty percent pay cut. Of course, these are some of the lowest paid who have 20% removed from their pay packets.
“The knock on effects in low income households is never a consideration when you’re giving away public lands to your mates.“
Causeway DUP Councillor, John McAuley, has however hit back at Cllr McShane comments saying:
“Unionists last night supported a proposal to Furlough a number of council staff, who due to the current Cornovirus Crisis, are not required. This UK Government scheme pays 80% of normal wages and is designed to safeguard jobs, avoiding a redundancy situation.
“SF supported by SDLP, Alliance & Cllr McShane (Ind) voted for council to top this upto to 100% but the amendment failed. Despite (Cllr McShane) allegations, our stance was nothing to do with financial mismanagement, but in the interests of fairness.
Going on to explain his decision not to support the amendment to the original proposal, the DUP councillor continued:
“Why should public sector furloughed workers get 100% when private sector are getting 80%?
“Why should council staff get paid the same on Furlough as their colleagues who are still working as normal? And actually end up better of than them as they have no travel expenses etc.
“As an elected representative, I am a custodian of ratepayers money and know that majority of my constituents would not want their money being used to top up public sector wages whilst they are in the same situation on 80% pay.”