Suffolk: Council leaders “working with staff” as prospect of redundancies salary cuts loom

COUNCIL leaders in west Suffolk have said they are “working with staff” to get the fairest deal for everyone amid fears that the merging of services will lead to salary cuts for those on the frontline.

Ian Gallin, chief executive of St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council, said the restructure of the senior management team, the sharing of services and the subsequent implementation of a single pay line for those who do the same jobs were “building blocks” for the council’s future.

But Mr Gallin, who revealed at a press briefing yesterday that the new slimmed-down management team is in place and expected to save �870,000 annually, admitted that further redundancies were “inevitable” as the council works to deliver slice �2.3million from its budget by 2014/2015.

It is hoped that all council services will be shared by April 2013 and Mr Gallin said negotiations with Unison, who said they will oppose all job and wage cuts, are continuing as the authority moves towards a single pay line.

“At the moment there are two groups of council staff coming together and currently we have staff doing the same job in either council but who are paid and rewarded differently and that is clearly not right. Moving forward we need to move to a single pay line.

“We are very much doing this with staff, jointly with Unison. The overall picture is recognised by staff, everyone recognises that we can’t have different basis for rewarding staff.”

This week the East Anglian Daily Times reported how it was believed that some St Edmundsbury frontline workers, such as refuse staff, who are paid more than their Forest Heath equivalents could see their wages lowered to equalise pay.

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St Edsmundbury council leader John Griffiths said it was too early to discuss exact details.

He added: “The facts of the matter is that we are treating everyone equal and that most of savings, will and have come from the top earners so that St Edsmundsbury and Forest Heath are looking to work with our staff to get the fairest deal for everyone in the circumstances.”

The new heads of service are:

Head of economic development and growth: Andrea Mayley

Head of housing: Simon Phelan

Head of human resources and organisational development: Karen Points

Head of legal and democratic services: Joy Bowes

Head of leisure, culture and communities: Neil Anthony

Head of planning and regulatory services: Nicola Baker

Head of policy, strategy, communications and customers: Davina Howes

Head of resources and performance: Rachael Mann

Head of waste management and property services: Mark Walsh

Before the decision to share one senior management team, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury between them employed four directors and 15 heads of service (excluding the head of service at the Anglia Revenues Partnership which delivers the revenues and benefits service). This has now reduced to two directors and nine heads of service (excluding ARP).

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