Stranded staff were told to use leave, claims MP

Airdrie and Shotts MP Neil Gray
Airdrie and Shotts MP Neil Gray
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Airdrie and Shotts MP Neil Gray accused North Lanarkshire Council of callousness towards its employees during the recent cold snaps.

It is alleged the local authority told employees unable to get to work they would have to lose the day’s pay or take holidays to cover it.

Mr Gray believes as the council is responsible for ensuring non-motorway roads are passable during bad weather it should not make staff pay for its own inaction.

He said: “My constituents are disappointed with the council’s efforts to keep roads clear, however, I am sure we can all understand if during periods of really heavy snow they cannot keep up.

“If the council leadership hopes we can understand that, I am sure they can understand their own staff being unable to get to work because it is unsafe to travel.

“I am shocked this council apparently told staff to take holidays or lose pay if they couldn’t make it in. I could almost understand the approach if the snow was not clearly causing traffic chaos locally, and many accidents.

“This needs to be looked at and staff should not have to pay the price for a poorly managed council budget.”

The council hit back at Mr Gray, stating there are several options available if an employee can’t make it to work.

A spokesperson said: “This is not a reasonable characterisation of our policy. We understand that employees may at times face difficulties in attending their place of work and returning home during periods of severe weather and we do not force anyone to take annual leave in these circumstances. However, as a provider of vital public service, the council must also ensure that disruption to its services remains minimal.

“Employees, who are unable to attend work due to severe weather, have a number of options which they can discuss with their line manager to cover those circumstances where it is impossible to travel. These include working from home, using accrued flexi-time or making up the time over a period of weeks. An employee may also choose to take annual leave although we do not compel anyone to do so.

“If these options are not appropriate, paid leave will be granted.”