The Conservative Group on Birmingham City Council have slammed the ruling Labour Administration for failing to bring forward an improved parental leave policy for Council staff, nearly 12 months after cross party support for the Conservative motion was agreed at a meeting of the Full Council. The comments came after an update report was published for the Council Business Management Committee on 24 June 2019 that failed to show any progress on the issue.
Cllr Robert Alden (Con, Erdington) Leader of the Conservative Group said:
“A modern and flexible organisation needs to have policies in place that support families and we should be leading by example in this regard, not just offering the basic minimum. I was pleased last year to receive cross party backing for our calls for a policy that would put council staff on an equal footing to elected councillors when it comes to parental leave after the council introduced a new policy for elected members last summer. Our motion called for this to be implemented in time for the 2019/20 budget but, despite us chasing this on a number of occasions, Labour have failed to do anything to progress it. Instead, this week they have produced a report that is so lacking in detail and any firm commitment as to be frankly insulting. A table of a hand-picked list of organisations, designed to show that Birmingham isn’t the only employer to offer such limited support for its new parents and which cannot have taken more than a couple of hours to complete demonstrates a complete disregard for the role of Full Council who voted for improved conditions and also entirely misses the point; we shouldn’t be aiming to be no worse than some others, we should be striving to be the best and at the very least offering parity for our employees as Labour out forward for themselves as councillors. Birmingham City Council should be leading on this and by leading encouraging other organisations to also improve the offer they give staff, instead it is hiding behind minimum levels of support”
Cllr Alden added:
“We know that a child's first weeks and months are vital to setting that child's health and life direction. It is vital as a major employer in Birmingham, the youngest city, that we lead by example and help parents to be able to afford to spend this key time with their child should they wish. Labour Councillors have recognised the need to improve their own terms and conditions in this regard but failed to show our hard working staff that they too deserve the same level of support. It is now clear to all Council staff only a Conservative led Council will deliver industry leading maternity and paternity support to ensure that Birmingham City Council is truly a Family Friendly place to work.”
1. A copy of the motion, as agreed on 10 July 2018, can be found here
2. A copy of the report to the Council Business Management Committee to be held on 24 June 2019 can be found here