Media release – Wirral Conservative Group
Tuesday 29th March 2016
Life means life, say retired council staff
More than 400 long serving members of staff at Wirral Council have been told to return their retirement gifts in a letter received over the Easter weekend.
Employees with 25 years’ or more in local government service are given a ‘Passport for Life’ by the Council as their retirement gift. The ‘passport’ gives them free use Council-run golf courses, fitness suites, leisure and recreation centres.
In January 2016 Conservative Councillors questioned the evidence for the move, specifically asking how much of the overall saving by removing a range of ‘leisure concessions’ was attributable to staff.
Councillor Chris Blakeley said: “The double standards are breath taking. Senior directors are walking away with cheques for thousands of pounds, yet some of the lowest-paid but longest serving staff are now being told to return their retirement gift.
“Can you imagine any other employer basically going into someone’s living room and removing the pensioner’s carriage clock?
“There is no evidence that this move will ‘save’ money – we have no idea how many of the 411 retired staff use their passes, how often or if they will pay to use the leisure centre or simply go to a private gym when their ‘Passport for Life’ is cancelled. In this case, life should mean life.”
For more information please call Cllr. Chris Blakeley on 07803 614418
Notes to editors:
A report by officers considered by the Policy & Performance Co-ordinating Committee on 16 February stated: ‘Members also felt that the amount identified (£500k) was somewhat notional as there was no way of knowing how many of those currently using the facilities for free would become paying customers in the future’