Leeds City Council’s cull of pay protection may hit 400 staff

Civic Hall, Leeds.
Civic Hall, Leeds.
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Hundreds of Leeds City Council staff are being asked to sign revised contracts or face potentially losing their jobs.

Union officials claim up to 400 workers with protected pay are being asked to sign contracts under new terms, which could leave some losing up to £14,000 a year, before December 20 or face possible dismissal and reapplying for their revised posts.

As part of a crackdown on protected pay all council staff have been asked to sign up to new terms and conditions, and after a cross-union ballot the proposals were recently accepted.

But many workers who are on protected salaries, of a wide range of wage brackets, across departments face being left out of pocket so are yet to sign up.

Jon Smith, regional organiser for the GMB union which represents almost 8,000 staff, said the move has come at the worst time of the year. He said: “Some of our members have been on this pay for 20 to 30 years and they’re really concerned as to what they can do and how they’re going to pay their bills.”

The news, which also affects members of the UCATT, Unison and Unite unions, comes after a report outlining initial budget proposals for 2015/16 was discussed by the council’s executive board yesterday.

Draft plans including reducing the number of council posts by 475 aim to find the authority £76.1million of savings next year after Central Government once again slashed its funding.

Coun Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for personnel, said: “Current staff who are affected by changes to pay protection are being consulted individually about how the changes affect them personally.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of the council, said the agreement with the majority of workers means it has not had to make compulsory redundancies. He added: “This has been tough and it’s going to get tougher.”