Tyne & Wear

Newcastle City Council staff face £3,800 pay cut

Newcastle Civic Centre
Image caption Newcastle City Council says it needs to save £30m by the end of next year

Some Newcastle City Council staff face a pay cut of more than £3,800 a year amid plans to axe shift allowances.

Unions have warned of industrial action after the Labour-run authority said it wanted to end allowances paid to weekend and night workers.

The council said it needed to make cuts of £30m by the end of 2017 and removing shift allowances would save £2.5m.

Union bosses described the move as "a disgrace" and pledged to fight the proposals.

A council spokesman said the plans would affect 1,862 staff - about a third of the workforce - and would prevent the need for 100 redundancies.

'Extremely unpopular'

He said: "This is not something we want to do. However, government cuts mean we have to make massive savings to protect services and jobs.

"Our pay bill is one of the biggest areas of spend which we have control over, and in light of the financial challenges we face, the time has now come to question if it is affordable.

"I fully recognise this will be extremely unpopular among staff - but let me assure them that we remain committed to fair pay.

"Our recent decision to increase the Newcastle Living Wage to £8.25 per hour will give some protection to our lowest paid staff from the full effect of these changes."

The spokesman said the average financial loss for those affected would range from £331 to £3,831.

Industrial action

The Unison, GMB, Unite and Ucatt unions have condemned the proposals.

Unison branch secretary Paul Gilroy said: "It's a disgrace that [the council] has turned on their workforce, many of whom care for the most vulnerable adults and children across the city.

"Industrial action cannot be ruled out at this stage."

GMB spokesman Colin Burr added: "This attacks those who are predominately the lowest paid and rely on allowances and weekend enhancements to make a living."

Talks about the plans are due to be held next week.

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