Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Barnsley Council could change contracts to get flexible workforce

Staff at Barnsley Council could lose their "enhancements" for working weekends, as part of efforts to save nearly £19m.

More than 230 redundancy notices are also expected to be sent out to staff this week following a 90-day consultation with staff and unions.

Council leader Steve Houghton said the workforce needed to be more flexible.

Paul Wade from the GMB union said members would be balloted when the final proposal was confirmed.

Mr Houghton said: "We have a position at the moment where if people work weekends as part of their basic working week they still get enhancements.

'Cuts, cuts cuts'

"That doesn't happen anywhere else. We are paying extra money for what is essentially a basic working week."

But Mr Wade said the proposals that the council put forward initially were "wholly unacceptable."

He said: "All council staff, around 4,500, would have moved to contracts that involved five out of seven working, meaning every day of the week is a working day - any enhancements for working Saturday or Sunday removed, people who work nights or shifts - those enhancements reviewed or removed."

The council has now "significantly improved" the proposal, he added.

"We've had a period of negotiations which I can say have been quite difficult... It's still not ideal, it will still involve many staff, if not all staff eventually, move into five out of seven working."

Mr Houghton told BBC Radio Sheffield that the council was expected to send out 238 redundancy notices later this week.

Mr Houghton added: "We are trying to reduce back office and management and cut that and keep the front line safe.

"Already we've saved £30m, we're saving another £19m for next year, and on top of that there's another £30m worth of cuts got to come in the succeeding two to three years, so George Osborne is saying it's cuts cuts cuts all the way."

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