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Egg threat’ for strikers

PUBLISHED: 16:50 25 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:29 23 August 2010

UNION members on the verge of industrial action claim the county council leader told them: you will get eggs thrown at you if they went on strike. Kent County Council s (KCC) full council meeting, held to set the annual budget last Thursday, was distur

UNION members on the verge of industrial action claim the county council leader told them: "you will get eggs thrown at you" if they went on strike.

Kent County Council's (KCC) full council meeting, held to set the annual budget last Thursday, was disturbed by a small lobby of members fighting a one per cent pay deal.

After the protest ended David Lloyd, secretary of the Kent branch of Unison, revealed leader Paul Carter made the stark warning to members in County Hall, Maidstone.

He said: "Some of our members set up stands in the building and Paul Carter came up to one and said to them, 'if you take any strike action, you will get eggs thrown at you'.

"My colleagues said he looked like he was serious when he said it, I don't think it was light-hearted at all."

Regarding the pay deal, Mr Lloyd claims Mr Carter also said: "If people don't like it they can go and work for the private or voluntary sector."

He added: "I don't think that is very conducive to proceedings."

The lobby follows a ballot conducted last week on whether to take work-to-rule strike action, which, if agreed, would take effect in March.

It follows a one per cent pay rise that was rejected by union members in December because it is not in line with inflation. The union also claims a better pay deal would be possible if the council's high-earners took a small pay cut.

Despite Mr Carter's alleged comments, Mr Lloyd remained positive about the lobby.

He said: "It was quite successful on the whole. About 35 people turned up and that's good considering it is half-term and this is in a lot of teachers' holidays. A lot of people took our leaflets.

A KCC spokesperson said: "Mr Carter believes there will be very little sympathy among the people of Kent for strike action by members of Unison.

"When challenged on his way into the building, he did say that if people did not like working for the public sector they had the choice to work for the private sector."

Mr Carter added: "Kent County Council has a small senior management team - the Chief Officers - of seven people. Kent is one of the largest shire authorities in the country and employs over 44,000 staff. So any pay cut to senior salaries would make little or no impact to staff pay across the board."

elizabeth.thornton@archant.co.uk

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