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Leeds City Council agrees changes to staff conditions

Leeds Civic Hall, where planning applications are discussed by the plans panel.

Leeds Civic Hall, where planning applications are discussed by the plans panel.

Leeds City Council has agreed changes to staff terms and conditions as part of its ongoing efforts to deal with greatly reduced budgets over the past few years.

The council’s General Purposes Committee today unanimously accepted proposals to change some local terms with staff.

The plans received cross-party support from all political groups on the council. They include removal of some historical payment arrangements, introducing a redundancy policy and reducing spending on travel, including mileage rates and car allowance payments.

The council has been in talks with unions over a number of months about how to reduce employment costs while protecting key public services and jobs as far as possible, taking feedback from them into account.

Leeds City Council deputy chief executive Alan Gay said: “While we hope to continue talking to unions over the coming months we have to act now as we deal with very significant further cuts to our budget over the coming year. We have done everything we can so far to be more efficient in order to continue our focus on protecting vulnerable people while managing our finances properly.

“We value our staff and acknowledge that they have had little or no pay increase over the past five years and these changes will have minimal impact on take home pay for the vast majority of employees. We’re very much committed to continuing to do the best we can to provide essential council services to the people of Leeds.”

Ways in which the council has achieved significant savings to its costs in the light of reducing budgets over the past few years include:

• Significantly reducing the number of senior manager posts by 22% since 2010;

• Reducing agency spend;

• Restricting recruitment;

• Supporting staff wherever possible to leave the council through the voluntary Early Leaver Initiative (ELI). Over 2,000 staff have left since the scheme was launched;

• A cost of living rise of just 1% for the majority of staff over the past four (with no increase for senior management);

• No cost of living rise for staff over the past three years (four years for senior management);

• Developing more flexible roles/job descriptions (to reduce the need for recruitment / agency / overtime spend);

• Actively promoting voluntary reductions in working hours/working weeks;

• Ongoing work to further reduce sickness absence ;

• Reviewing existing temporary payments and acting up arrangements.

 

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