Leicester

Leicestershire council and union 'still talking' over cuts

Talks over changes to terms and conditions for Leicestershire County Council staff have been extended.

Changes to annual leave, sick pay and car allowances could save between £2m and £6m, the council estimated.

The authority said it has acted because it must save £80m and cut about 1,000 jobs over the next four years due to a fall in income.

Despite months of talks with unions, no agreement has been reached, leading to an extension of the consultation.

The council said a fall in central government grants, combined with rising costs and increasing demand for services had put a severe strain on budgets.

'Change proposals'

Deputy council leader, Nick Rushton, reiterated the savings had to be made one way or another.

"We are all in this together," he said. "I have got nowhere to go, I can't raise money from anywhere else.

"I have got inflation running at 5% - I have to make these savings and I really do want a collective agreement with the unions."

Keith Libetta, regional organiser of the public service union Unison, said despite negotiations being constructive changes to the proposals had to be made.

"We want a collective agreement at the end of the day," he said.

"Where there has been imposition elsewhere, that has lead to real and lengthy disputes and we want to avoid that.

"But as well as this issue with terms and conditions, we are still having to deal with cuts in services, more redundancies, we are also balloting on changes to the pension scheme - there are so many attacks on staff in local government at the moment it is difficult."

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