Stalemate in Council pay talks

FREEZES to Sheffield Council staff's incremental pay rises will be imposed from April to save £10 million a year over the next two years despite trade union opposition.

Unions representing the 8,000 staff set to lose out are angry senior managers are not taking a pay cut and have not agreed to the changes.

But the council is pressing ahead, saying the move will allow it to make millions of pounds of savings while protecting frontline services.

During 2011/12, the council will receive 48.8m less from Government but will need to make 80m of savings.

The council is writing to staff asking them to accept the proposal.

Director of human resources Julie Toner said: "Consultation with the trade unions has not resulted in a collective agreement and the council has therefore decided to write to individuals.

"We will be explaining to staff that if they accept, their increment will be frozen until March 2013. The proposal means the council will save a significant amount of money which will help reduce any redundancies we may have to make.

"We appreciate this is a difficult time for staff and we hope they appreciate that by making this change to their terms and conditions, it will help safeguard jobs."

The council has also asked staff to consider early retirement or voluntary severance and over 400 applications have been received, with 320 now approved, with the majority on salaries above 22,000.

The council has announced the lowest paid earning a full-time salary of 21,000 or less will receive a 250 pay rise in April, with 61 per cent of the workforce receiving the payment.

Chief executive John Mothersole said: "This is a decisive move to support members of the workforce whose annual salary is 21,000 or less.

"Although negotiations on this are still taking place at a national level, we feel that it is the fair thing for us to do."

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