Councils' move delayed after staff reject terms to transfer to Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 11:34 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:02 13 September 2017
Hopes of moving all staff out of Babergh and Mid Suffolk council offices in Hadleigh and Needham Market by the start of October have been dashed after they rejected new terms of employment.
The move to Endeavour House in Ipswich will not now be completed until December at the earliest – and council officers who have not accepted amended contracts have now been sent formal notices of redundancy.
They will not lose their jobs – they will be sent new contracts on the same terms but which state that their official place of work is in Ipswich, not their existing offices.
The staff – members of the public services union UNISON – rejected an amendment to their contracts saying their workplace would be in Ipswich because of increased costs they were facing to get to work.
At present they have free parking at their offices. At Ipswich they will have to pay to park either in the county council’s car park or in nearby public car parks.
They would be able to get free tickets for the park and ride service from Copdock Mill or Martlesham – but a UNISON official said this would not be practical for many officers who have to use their cars for work.
Talks are continuing between the union and the councils’ administration.
A spokeswoman for the two authorities – which have a joint administration – said that by issuing new contracts instead of amending existing documents, there would need to be a 12-week delay before the last people could move.
That meant the first two groups who had been due to move to Endeavour House had been delayed, and the final move would not be complete until December 5.
She said: “We are writing to all staff but we think some may want to move as had originally been planned – for example if they had already made childcare plans – and we will try to accommodate them.”
Some council staff will move to new office space being created in Stowmarket and Sudbury.
Next Wednesday’s full council meeting at Babergh – which was to have been the last in the council’s Hadleigh chamber – has been cancelled because of lack of business.
But the delay in moving to Ipswich could mean that there are further meetings at the Hadleigh council chamber before the office closes for the last time at the end of the year.