Local Government Reorganisation

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These are uncertain times for local government workers in Cumbria.

The disbanding of Cumbria County Council and the District councils to create two distinct Unitary authorities – Cumberland covering the north and west of the county and Westmorland and Furness covering the south and east – has left many council workers like you wondering what the future holds.

The recent elections for the shadow authority at least showed us what the make up of the authorities will be. Labour took control of the Cumberland Authority, while Westmorland and Furness will be controlled by the Lib Dems.

The councillors that were elected will take their seats for five years, with the transition period of one year as the shadow authority plans and prepares for the new authorities until April 2023.

People employed by the current councils are obviously concerned about the service levels and provisions to be provided going forward as they look to retain their jobs, and that is where their trade unions come in.

Defending those roles is a main priority for the unions, while campaigning for decent wage rises, defending and improving conditions and working with the authorities to ensure a smooth transition are all key.

Strategic meetings are taking place right now as the unions plan ahead to meet the challenge that is posed for their members in local government.

Public Service union UNISON have set up a dedicated email address at LGRCumbria@unison.co.uk for any members with concerns or queries that they would like to have addressed by a branch official.

Mandie Phinn, UNISON Cumbria County Branch Secretary