West Suffolk: Councils look to merge services

FRONTLINE workers, including refuse staff, could see their pay slashed as two councils merge their services.

Union bosses are currently negotiating with St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council on a review of terms and conditions and a new payline for staff.

The 90 day process is designed in part to make sure those who do the same jobs in different wards, such as refuse workers, are paid fairly.

Councillor David Nettleton, said he believed the two councils planned to lower the pay of St Edmundsbury refuse staff to equalise pay, rather than raise that of their Forest Heath equivalents.

Mr Nettleton, an independent councillor for St Edmundsbury, added he hoped that existing staff would not be made “worse off” by any change.

“No one should be made worse off. That should be the basis of the changes.

“A lot of these staff are loyal and long-serving, working long hours in all conditions. There should not be a pay cut.”

Most Read

The councils have previously set an annual savings target for the sharing of services is �2,358,000.

The authority hopes that by 2015/16 savings from shared services will amount to �2,511,000 - �150,000 more than their target.

Ian Gallin chief executive at St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath said: “We are joining up the staffs of two councils.

“It is inevitable that such changes can be unsettling but the welfare of all our staff, wherever they work and whatever their role, is always paramount.

“We aim to maintain morale through frequent consultation and communication and we are negotiating with Unison to achieve a collective agreement as part of this shared services process.”

He added: “I have to add that it is to everyone’s great credit that no matter how unsettled people may feel, they are still delivering excellent services to our residents.”