Council proposals aim to save on ‘sickies’
By debbigg | Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 12:19
Around 24,000 Hertfordshire County Council employees and non-teaching staff in schools are likely to see changes to their employment terms and conditions in a move to save the authority approximately £11million a year. The changes include the way in which staff are paid for sick leave.
The authority and UNISON have reached an 'agreement in principle' to the changes, which are being hailed by the Council as a cost-saving initiative, designed to protect frontline services. This step follows other measures, such as recruitment freezes, as well as a recent call for voluntary redundancy.
Caroline Tapster, Chief Executive of Hertfordshire County Council, said: "We have already put into place efficiency measures that over the next four years will save the council £135m, but we need to do more in order to safeguard front line services. Changes to our employment package, including the way we pay staff for sick leave, have the potential to generate substantial savings for the county.
"Discussions with UNISON have been complex and I'm pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement in principle which, once signed, will be contractually binding for all affected employees. Our intention throughout has been to make any changes with the support of the unions. This latest successful round of talks with UNISON and resultant agreement in principle is a really positive step.
"Both UNISON and the council believe that this is the best agreement that can be achieved through negotiation and that it provides a responsible balance between the need to find savings and protect jobs and frontline services. We will now wait to see how the UNISON members respond to the ballot.”
The agreement is now subject to a ballot by UNISON which opened on 8 April 8 and continues until 26 April 2011. If the ballot accepts the agreement, councillors will make a final decision in May on whether to introduce the new employment terms. If agreed they will be introduced in April 2012.
Senior Mangers have already been through this exercise and have undergone the changes to their employment terms and conditions. They have all signed new contracts, which come in to effect in June this year.
Teaching staff and Fire Fighters are not included in the proposed changes as they are covered by different national pay arrangements.
Are you a Council worker, or do you work in a school? If so, how do the proposed changes affect you? Will the new terms make you think twice about taking a ‘sickie’? Are you concerned that colleagues will come in to work unwell and risk spreading their illness as a result of the changes? Or do you welcome this move to protect your job and the service you provide?
Are you a public sector worker? How do you feel about your public sector piers taking a hit on their sick leave pay?
Share your views below on stalbanspeople!