Northampton

Anger over new Northamptonshire County Council job contracts

A union has criticised a council after it sent out letters to staff asking them to accept new job conditions - with cuts to sick pay allowances - or face dismissal and re-employment.

Northamptonshire County Council said resources are so stretched it had "no option" but to change the contract.

Branch secretary for Unison in the county Steve Bennett said workers had already backed industrial action.

He said the council was losing the "goodwill" of staff over this issue.

The union and the council have been in talks over the new contract since October last year.

The council says it has to save £4m from employment costs.

'Stark choices'

The new job conditions would see staff pay taken out of the national pay bargaining system, so pay will be decided at a local level.

It also includes reducing the six months of full sickness pay to 12 weeks and the following six months of half-sickness pay to 12 weeks, and freezing the performance related pay scheme for two of the next four years.

Charlie MacNally, director of adult and children's services, said: "These are unprecedented times and having to look at wider employment costs will not be welcome by anyone. The stark choices we face are reducing services or reducing costs.

"We are reducing costs in all other areas of expenditure where we are able but we are now left with no option but to look at employment costs.

"I recognise the commitment all our employees show and these proposals are in no way a reflection of the significant achievements you make every day. However we all have no option but to address the financial realities that face the council and indeed society as a whole."

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