Shropshire Council staff contracts: Concessions offered

Unison members outside Shirehall
Image caption Last month council Unison members held a 24-hour walkout over the changes

Shropshire Council has taken steps to reach an agreement with trade unions on changes to staff terms and conditions.

The council has set out further concessions it is willing to offer if collective agreement can be reached.

The announcement follows talks with the trade unions Unison, Unite and GMB.

About 6,500 staff were dismissed and rehired on 30 September under new terms which the council said would help it save up to £7m by 2013.

Staff are currently facing a pay cut of 5.4%, phased over two years.

The new proposals include two extra days paid leave to be taken in the Christmas holiday period this year and an increase in the rate of reimbursement for business travel from 40p a mile to 45p from 1 April 2012.

'Listened carefully'

There would also be a commitment to limiting the pay reduction next year from 2.7% to no more than 1.9%.

In addition, the Conservative-led authority has agreed to work closely with the trade unions over the next few months on a review of its sickness absence scheme and on possible alternative savings which would reduce further the need for a pay reduction in 2012.

The council has asked for a formal response from the trade unions to these proposals by the end of the month.

Keith Barrow, Shropshire Council leader said: "I hope that staff feel satisfied that we have listened carefully to their concerns and have worked with the unions to come up with viable alternatives.

"We are eager to move on and discuss more positive changes for the future, protect essential services, local jobs, and levels of earning for our staff.

"I am optimistic that we can now move quickly to remove uncertainty about these issues for our dedicated workforce, whose commitment, skills and experience we value highly."

Alan James, secretary of Unison's Shropshire branch, said: "We feel that the council has listened to our views and has come forward with an alternative approach which better reflects the views and feelings of our staff."

Last month council Unison members held a 24-hour walkout over the changes being proposed.

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