Unions reject council ‘terms and conditions’ talks

Municipal Buildings, Boston
Municipal Buildings, Boston

The unions have ‘made clear they will not negotiate’ with Boston Borough Council over planned changes to staff terms and conditions, according to the authority’s leader.

Coun Peter Bedford read out a statement at this morning’s cabinet meeting outlining the council bid’s to save money from its wage bill in light of government funding cuts.

As previously reported in The Standard the council is looking to save more than £200,000 by a review of staff ‘terms and conditions’ and says the only alternative would be ‘arbitrary’ job cuts as it looks to save £1.1m by 2017/18.

Coun Bedford told the cabinet: “The financial situation remains very challenging. As we enter a period of reviewing the medium terms financial strategy it is likely that the savings requirement will increase.”

He added: “None of us would want to make changes to terms and conditions unless absolutely necessary.”

Coun Bedford said the council relied on its ‘willing and dedicated’ staff to provide services and said no member of staff will be asked to take a pay cut – but said the review had not gone down well with unions.

He said: “The trade unions have made clear that they will not negotiate with the council.”

Staff had agreed to a three-year deal in 2010 to freeze pay and cut conditions including sick pay – and had hoped to claw some of that back.

The details of the negotiations are not allowed to be made public under the Local Government Act, with councillors going into closed session to talk about those.

Before the press and public were excluded, Coun Bedford said: “The proposed terms and conditions still represent a competitive package in the local labour market.”

The council says staff costs amount to 80 per cent of its £9.5 million budget.