Shropshire Council cabinet backs staff pay cut

Shropshire Council's cabinet has backed plans to cut staff pay by up to 5.4% over two years.

Leader of the council Keith Barrow said it was a painful decision, but "the only solution".

The proposals also require approval at a full council meeting on 23 June.

Regional Unison organiser Rick Tudor said the move was "cruel and spiteful," and said the union could not rule out industrial action.

Local branch secretary Alan James said, taking into account a two-year pay freeze, the current level of inflation and plans for pensions, the cuts would equate to "15 or 16%".

The Conservative-led council needs to find £76m of savings over the next three years.

It estimated the latest plans would ultimately save about £7m a year.

'Lower-paid staff'

Under the proposals anyone currently earning more than £14,733, including the chief executive, would face two annual cuts of 2.7%.

Mr Barrow said the cuts would be graded to protect the lowest-paid staff and those earning less than £13,189 would not be affected at all.

"We're saying to staff after 12 months we'll review it. And if we've found more savings elsewhere, then we'll mitigate that downwards," Mr Barrow added.

Chief executive Kim Ryley said a pay cut was important to avoid large-scale redundancies.

He added that if no formal agreement could be reached with trade unions before 23 June, the authority would look to force through its plans.

"That would involve us technically dismissing all our staff and re-engaging them on new terms," Mr Ryley said.

Staff also face changes to their working conditions, including sickness benefits and annual leave entitlement.

The council said the revised conditions would "introduce more flexibility and greater productivity".

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