UNISON claim 95% of members are against Suffolk County Council’s unpaid leave proposals

Suffolk County Council offices, Endeavour House. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk County Council offices, Endeavour House. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

UNISON says Suffolk County Council must abandon plans to cut staff pay through mandatory unpaid leave after an online poll it conducted showed 95% of its members will reject the plans.

The cash-strapped council had scaled down a proposal that staff take two days of unpaid leave for each of the next two years to one day’s unpaid leave for one year instead in a bid to reduce the wage bill.

But UNISON has urged the council to ditch the plan altogether, after its members at the council overwhelmingly voted against the plans in an online ballot. It has released the results of the poll to the council.

Sam Leigh, UNISON’s eastern regional organiser, said: “The message from staff couldn’t be clearer - Suffolk County Council must ditch this unpopular pay cut. “Council bosses have cynically presented this attack on its workforce as a pay rise as they plan to enforce the cut at the same time as they apply the second year of a national pay deal they have already agreed to. But staff have seen straight through the spin and overwhelmingly said they’re not willing to take the hit for a lack of central government funding or for council leaders blowing their budget.

Suffolk County Council has the chance now to abandon its unfair plans and start to treat its staff with dignity. If it doesn’t, UNISON will step up the campaign against this pay cut and force council bosses to change their minds.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We’ve fully engaged UNISON throughout discussions surrounding future pay arrangements we are looking to put in place from April 2019.

“We continue to take their feedback on the subject and will be meeting with UNISON representatives next week to announce our final decision.

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“As has been much publicised in recent months, the council continues to face significant financial challenges in delivering services to the most vulnerable residents of Suffolk.

“Our staff are passionate about serving the community they work in and have experienced a lot of change in recent years.

“Our announcement next week takes into account the views of UNISON as well as many other factors that we have to be aware of as the role of local government continues to adapt to an ever decreasing budget.”

He added the idea of unpaid leave came from council staff in the first place.