Monday, 21 July 2008

Chidren's Home visit

After a weekend off Sue & Keith got back into the swing with a Section 33 Visit to our local Children's Home. This is a duty that all Councillors are supposed to carry out but not all of them do. We think it is forgetfulness rather than neglect and it may be that individual Councillors will have to be rostered to ensure they carry out these visits.
On Tuesday Sue stepped in to deputise for a Councillor who could not attend a Licensing Sub-Committee. When she got there no-one else had turned up either. After some frantic phone calls the Chairman got there and the two of them carried on.
It was the day of the first meeting of the Human Resouces and Equalities Committee which Keith is chairing. This was a scene-setter for the real work which will be carried out in the future. The intention is to ensure we have a workforce which is fit for purpose, fairly treated and encouraged to develop in their roles.
As probably the most diverse city in the country we face many challenges and many opportunities over the coming years and the committee will play it's part in that.
On a personal note Keith pities those people who embrace extreme right wing groups, they limit themselves to their own narrow vision and fail to see the opportunities to enrich their lives by experiencing all that this world has to offer.
Straight after the committee it was straight into a meeting of the Employees Consultative Forum where teachers and school employees get to meet Cllr Les Lawrence to talk about Education Issues. Of course the main topic was the decision that school non-teaching employees have to get backpay the same as the Council workers. The teachers unions think we should put our hands into the bottomless pit which they believe the Council has and pay up. Government guidelines say the schools should pay and as schools in Birmingham have £70million in reserves we tend to agree with them.
The unions in general seem to think we have this bottomless money pit as they called a two day strike for Wednesday and Thursday to demend a bigger increase. This had very little impact in the city, all the waste depots were working and this is what seems to make the biggest impact. It seems a pity that employees are encouraged to lose 2 days pay to support demands for larger increases when a lot of people must be very worried that they will have a job at all the way things are going. Still the unions have never allowed realism to get in the way before.