22 May 2009

300 not out

In June hfconwatch will be celebrating its 300th blog with some special look-backs and predictions for the coming year.

To contribute please email: hfconwatch@hotmail.co.uk with any stories about Tory H&F council.

20 May 2009

The devil is in the detail

Next week's annual H&F council meeting sees more of the same Tory cabinet. But there are some interesting details lurking in the papers.

Avonmore and Brook Green councillor William Bethell only attended two meetings in the whole of last year and managed to avoid attending any full Council meetings.

The Housing scrutiny committee will have its third Chairman in three years, reflecting the Tories' difficulties with their plans to sell off and redevelop council estates throughout the borough.

There are also alterations to Cabinet members portfolios. What exactly does Cllr Paul Bristow, the Cabinet Member for Residents Services, do? His main functions were rubbish collection and street cleaning (since put in the hands of Cllr Greg Smith) and parks. Now Cllr Frances Stainton has added parks to her portfolio. Is Cllr Bristow's boss at work (aka the Leader) not letting him have enough time off to campaign in Middlesbrough?

Finally, Cllr Minnie Scott-Russell, who has taken an independent line on planning and at her last meeting called her Tory colleagues 'traitors' for not supporting All Saints Church in Fulham, is no longer on the planning applications committee. That will teach her.

17 May 2009

Dirty tricks on the doorsteps

A Fulham resident has complained to hfconwatch about Tory dirty tricks, describing their approach as 'improper and designed to deceive'.

Local Tories were canvassing on Saturday at riverside blocks of flats in Fulham. When they rang the intercom, they said: "Can you buzz me in please. We're here from Hammersmith and Fulham council to do a survey."

Then three people entered the building, including one with a large blue rosette and one a local councillor, all Conservative Party workers there to lobby for the European elections!

How not to sack staff and influence people

Further to previous blogs, Tory H&F council has given its staff until the end of May as the latest deadline to agree to a change in their contract.

The council has now given three dates by when employees must agree - 24 April, the end of May and the legal one of 30 September. If someone does not sign by 30 September, how can the council sack them? Any appeal at industrial tribunal will surely argue that the council gave so many deadlines to sign, how did staff know which deadline would result in the sack?

Not only is this Tory council incapable of running its services efficiently, it can't even sack its staff efficiently! If the council do not withdraw this change of contract or tone it right down, it's likely that thousands of staff are going to sign under protest and take it to a tribunal as unfair dismissal from their old contract! How much will that cost the council in cash and bad publicity?

Questions are also being asked about how much has been spent on this pointless exercise so far: H&F council has had many meetings with the unions, staff consultation groups and numerous management meetings; they have hired consultants, sent out letters to all staff, produced a business case etc etc. So what is it all costing?

09 May 2009

Hanging on the telephone

Residents report more and more problems calling the council, with the new call centre in Rochdale not knowing much about H&F.

For another great video on this Tory madness, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvyL1TNufM4

The streets are getting dirtier

Flytipping is proliferating throughout Hammersmith & Fulham. This weekend rubbish bags, unwanted furniture and other items are littering many local streets, following the introduction of charging for collection by the Tory council.

Council staff given 1 July deadline

The Tory council in Hammersmith & Fulham has warned all its staff that notices of dismissal will commence on 1 July 2009 and end on 30 September 2009. See previous hfconwatch blogs below.

The council claims that 40% of staff have signed up to new contracts worsening their conditions of service - which still leaves the majority of the workforce facing dismissal shortly.

There must be an election soon...

European elections are being held on 4 June. And bang on time, the Tory council's newspaper, H&F News runs a front page story attacking the EU and blaming air quality targets for threatening the cut in the western congestion charging zone.

04 May 2009

Old dogs, old tricks

H&F Tories keep trying the same old scaremongering tricks - about Charing Cross hospital and about the so-called super sewer.

As anyone who has been treated there recently will know, Charing Cross hospital is in very good health. Strangely the Tories didn't try and scare off Michelle Obama when she visited the hospital last month.

The Tories' latest efforts about the 'super sewer' on the front page of the most recent edition of H&F News have drawn a stinging response from Thames Water correcting the council's misleading comments. Local residents desperately need better sewage infrastructure to prevent flooding and river pollution but the council is obstructing Thames Water from making the necessary investment.

Same old Tories, same old tricks.

Back to work in anticipation

H&F council staff return to work after the May Day bank holiday expecting another letter about their contracts. Previously hfconwatch (9 April etc) reported that staff had been told they had until 24 April to sign new terms and conditions, otherwise they faced the sack later this year.

The deadline of 24 April has passed and it looks like the council has been using the Tories' tried and not to be trusted practice of scare tactics and misinformation because no one has been sacked yet.

The council is extending its deadline and is due to send another letter to staff on 5 May. One of the unions has written an open letter which asks that the council's letter (5 May) is clearer on the process of change and employees' rights. It also asks for four questions to be answered, including can someone sign the new contract under protest and take the matter to industrial tribunal, and what is the legal deadline for signing the new contact?

Staff want a crystal clear response on what the process is and employees' rights, otherwise there will be further questions about the integrity of the Tory council in dealing with both residents and staff.