Sheffield Council ‘bullying’ letter to workers claim

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TRADE unions representing staff at Sheffield Council have accused management of sending out a “bullying” letter to up to 4,000 workers who have not agreed to give up incremental pay rises.

The council, which is axing 731 posts, said the pay freeze will save £10 million and avoid the need for a further 300 job losses.

But unions are opposing the move and have been unable to reach an agreement with the council.

Now a letter has been sent to all workers who have not accepted the increment freeze, giving them the final chance to accept by March 31 - or their contracts will be terminated.

It does not say workers can continue on the new terms and conditions without signing the letter, an option specified when the council went through a similar exercise changing pay and grading.

Rod Padley, branch secretary for Unison at Sheffield Council, said: “The letter appears to be bullying in tone. And what happens if 3,000 to 4,000 people do not formally agree to the changes - will they lose their jobs?”

Sheffield Council said the letter was worded to comply with legal requirements and staff who did not sign up to the changes who turned up for work from April 1 would be able to continue their employment, as it would be assumed they had accepted the new conditions.

Julie Toner, the council’s director of human resources, said: “Acceptance letters are still coming in but we are concerned there are staff who have not yet responded to the proposal letter and so we are reminding them of the deadline in mid March by writing to them as we are required to.

“We have genuinely wanted to reach a collective agreement with the Trade Unions over this issue but have not been able to which is why we have written to staff individually. We do not want any employees to leave the council’s employment because they feel unable to sign up.”