Devon

Unions halt Plymouth City Council staff changes

Unions have refused to sign Plymouth City Council's plans to change staff terms and conditions to save the authority £1.5m a year.

The new agreement was due to start on Monday but two of the three unions have refused to sign the deal.

Changes would have included no contractual overtime, simplifying expenses and allowances, and making Saturday a normal working day.

The council has to save £18m from its workforce over the next three years.

Both Unison and the GMB have said they are not in a position to sign the deal.

'Difficult situation'

GMB's Stuart Fegan said he was concerned the plans could have a negative effect on the lives of staff.

"Most council services are accessible on the internet and I'm not sure if there's a demand from the public to be open on Saturdays."

The council said the delay since April for not implementing these changes has so far cost them £330,000.

The authority said by opening on Saturdays it could provide services when customers wanted them without increasing costs.

Cabinet member for finance, property and people Ian Bowyer said: "The package was negotiated to help protect jobs across the council - it really was the best offer that could have been agreed upon.

"This unfortunately forces us into a difficult situation where we still require to make these savings in other ways."

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