Council staff agree to take unpaid leave

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STAFF who work for North Yorkshire County Council – including teachers, librarians and social workers – have agreed to accept unpaid leave and other reductions to their terms and conditions to save the authority £2 million.

The changes, which will apply to everyone who works for the council, include taking two days’ unpaid leave every year, the removal of enhanced payments for overtime and the ability of the council to remove pay from staff who are not performing satisfactorily – including taking too many sick days.

As previously announced, their mileage rates will also be cut from 47p per mile to 40p.

Staff members were consulted on a range of cost-cutting proposals and UNISON members voted to support the final set of proposals from management.

Chief executive Richard Flinton paid tribute to county council staff. He said: “Council staff continue to work extremely hard in their delivery of services for the residents of North Yorkshire. They do this in difficult times with fewer resources, changes to services and restructurings which affect many hundreds of staff.

“These are worrying and anxious times for our staff, many of whom are worried about their jobs. Despite all this they have agreed to a pay cut, in the form of two days’ unpaid leave and other reductions to their terms and conditions, in order to save £2 million, which will be a significant contribution to the savings the council has to make over the next few years.”

UNISON branch secretary Wendy Nichols said: “Council staff were asked to agree to changes which would reduce their pay and terms and conditions rather than take further money out of services to the public. This is evidence, if any was needed, of council staff commitment to delivering the best possible services to North Yorkshire residents.

“It should be set in the context of this being the second year of no pay rise whilst there are increasing costs of living and imminent increases to the contribution staff will need to make to their pension scheme, which will reduce their take-home pay further.

“We agree with the sentiment of the letters council leader John Weighell and chief executive Richard Flinton sent to the Government expressing disappointment and concern with the inappropriate way the Government has implemented their policy of public sector cuts. We who work in this sector and those who receive these services know the real value.”

The changes will be implemented over the next 12 months.