Hereford & Worcester

Pay cut plan proposed by Worcestershire County Council

Staff at Worcestershire County Council are considering proposals to cut pay.

Plans include workers not getting sick pay for the first three days and introducing three days' mandatory unpaid annual leave.

The authority said if it could agree the package, the council would not need to consider further measures such as "the direct pay cuts being progressed by some other councils".

Unison said staff had been "taking the hit on these cuts for many years".

Adrian Gregson, branch secretary for the union in Worcestershire, said: "The three days' unpaid leave, that's a 1% pay cut on staff.

"[That's] a 1% pay cut plus all the changes to the pension scheme that are proposed plus a two-year pay freeze."

'Tough and fair'

The Conservative-led council said it was pleased it had been able to negotiate a package of changes that Unison and the GMB had agreed to ballot their members on.

The authority said it "has to work within much tighter financial parameters" in order to save between £60m and £70m over the next four years.

Chief executive Trish Haines said plans to have no sick pay for the first three days would bring it "into line with the statutory sick pay scheme that almost every other employer already uses".

She said: "We hope we've put forward a set of proposals that are tough and fair.

"We looked at a whole range of options, including proposals that would have been much tougher than this."

The council said it has been operating "stringent recruitment restrictions since last year to reduce employee numbers" and implemented a cut of two hours per week for new employment contracts from February this year.

'Bring germs'

Asked if strike options were maybe a real possibility, Mr Gregson said it was "still in there".

He said: "If our members don't want to accept these conditions, then the county council will have to decide what it's going to do.

"We're concerned that [the sick pay plan] is going to impact directly on people staying off work.

"It's going to bring germs into the workplace. It's going to have an impact in frontline services where there's more contact with the public, more likelihood of catching disease."

The chief executive said managers had been told they should "make sure that people are fit to work when they come in".

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