Somerset

Union members reject Somerset County Council pay offer

Union members at Somerset County Council have voted in favour of industrial action against the council's redundancy pay offer.

The Conservative-led authority wants to change redundancy terms and pay protection for downgraded staff.

Unison said a poll of members rejected the council's offer and a "significant majority" supported some form of action such as a strike or work to rule.

The council said it regretted the outcome and would continue to consult.

About 1,500 posts over the next three years are to close.

The council needs to save £34m (10% of its revenue budget) over the next financial year.

Libraries, youth centres and bus services are set to close as part of the cuts.

Rejected proposals

Nigel Behan, from Unison, said: "If Somerset County Council is to have the worst employment terms amongst South West councils, then how in future will we recruit and retain the motivated and committed staff to deliver good quality services that our community here in Somerset deserve?"

Cabinet member for human resources councillor Harvey Siggs said: "We have taken part in lengthy and continuous negotiations over very many months to reduce the staff pay bill.

"Unfortunately every proposal put forward to the unions to reduce the pay bill has been rejected."

The current offer to the unions includes pay protection for a year where a member of staff who is downgraded continues to be paid their higher salary for one year while carrying out lower paid work.

Unions also voted to reject a temporary pay freeze.

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