Headlines: August 24th, 2010

The leading public sector union has hit back at claims in a recent report that productivity in local government does not match up to the private sector. UNISON said the study by consultants, Knox D’Arcy was misleading, unrepresentative and unhelpful.  

The union said comprehensive, independent studies had shown that public sector productivity had been rising since 2006 but that recent job losses had put workers under huge pressure. More cuts, it said, would turn the clock back and lead to the closure of vital local services.

UNISON’s General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said the new report was a small survey which flew in the face of evidence on public sector productivity. The real danger was that large-scale cuts would lead to productivity plummeting. “The situation in Local Government now is more work on less shoulders. Council workers have delivered over and above targets for efficiency savings every year they have been set,” Mr. Prentis said.

The union’s own  independent staff survey showed that 31 per cent  of council staff were now  regularly working in extra hours without pay or time off in lieu. Two thirds of respondents said that their workload had gone up from the previous year. Mr.Prentis said it wasn not possible to compare private and public sector productivity. “Instead of constantly running local government workers down, we should be focussing on boosting morale, which would also have a knock on effect to productivity.”