Shropshire

Shropshire Council cabinet accepts staff pay plans

A pay freeze for thousands of staff has been backed by Shropshire Council's cabinet.

The authority has said it has to save £76m in the next four years.

Part of the plan to achieve the savings was to freeze staff pay for two years from next April.

The cabinet has also agreed to look at cutting annual leave, occupational sick pay and office hours as well as changes to the council's pay and grading system.

'Morale very low'

Patricia Wilson of the trade union, Unison, said it was a difficult time and members were very stressed.

"We've got a climate at the moment of members who are saying 'I've got to keep my head down because I could be at risk'. Staff morale is very, very low.

"What you will have is the demoralised staff."

Shropshire Council Chief Executive, Kim Ryley, said the pay freeze would save jobs: "By spreading the cuts very thinly round individuals take home pay we can make a sizeable dent in our savings target.

"We can avoid making hundreds of redundancies."

He said it was a big challenge to maintain the core of essential services and making staff more productive.

"If we get this balance right we can protect more services this way and more jobs."

He estimated the changes would save a minimum of £5m a year which was the equivalent to 250-300 jobs.

Mr Ryley said all staff would be fully consulted in early spring before the changes were implemented on 1 April 2011.

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