Union warns over staff salary cuts

A UNION has warned that proposals to cut some staff salaries at a council by up to £3,000 could provoke dozens of workers to leave.Members of public service union Unison were reported to be angry and disgusted at a meeting to discuss possible moves by Mid Suffolk District Council to cut pay from some long serving employees in order to offer a better deal to new recruits.

A UNION has warned that proposals to cut some staff salaries at a council by up to £3,000 could provoke dozens of workers to leave.

Members of public service union Unison were reported to be angry and disgusted at a meeting to discuss possible moves by Mid Suffolk District Council to cut pay from some long serving employees in order to offer a better deal to new recruits.

It is understood about 95 staff at the council – up to a quarter of staff – could be forced to take pay cuts from January 2005, mainly among the junior ranks.

A meeting involving union members at the council was held on Wednesday to discuss the plans.


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A statement issued by Unison after the meeting said: "Good staff, with the requisite skills and experience, are hard to find, let alone retain.

"With proposals like these, Unison can only predict that if they are implemented, then not only will staff potentially leave in droves but also recruitment of good quality staff will become a problem at Mid Suffolk with the council in danger of establishing a reputation of being a poor employer.

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"This could only exacerbate the situation which would mean that the quality of services delivered to the public will be severely affected. Unison is urging management to get back round the negotiating table in order to get some realism back into these proposals."

The union said it had not been consulted on the proposals, and said for some staff it represented the second pay-cut in three years.

"It became apparent during the meeting that some senior managers, who had been briefed on the proposals and were expected to deliver the bad news to those affected staff, had not been given the full picture," the statement read.

The council has said it is modernising its pay structure in a bid to boost recruitment levels, increase staff retention and bring the council's pay structure in line with other organisations and local authorities in the county.

Last night, Roger Saunders, Conservative leader of the council, said: "One of the problems is there is a national shortage in qualified personnel such as in planning and many young staff we get are poached by larger councils once they get enough experience.

"There are other areas where qualified staff are in short supply nationally and we cannot offer the same salary levels as bigger councils.

"The proposal is not down for implementation until January 2005. There is room for discussions and clarifications. At the moment I cannot make any comments as to where it might go because we have not had a formal response from the union."

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