Devon

Plymouth Council to rehire 190 staff on new terms

Plymouth City Council
Image caption Plymouth City Council said 140 out of 330 affected staff have voluntarily signed up to new terms

Plymouth City Council is to formally dismiss almost 200 staff and then rehire them on new contracts after talks with unions broke down.

Unite has accused the authority of bullying over the move which will mean more flexibility over working hours.

The council said the move comes after contract negotiations broke down

Diana Beal, from Unite, said the union would put forward collective grievances about the consultation and accused the authority of failing to "fully engage".

The council's deputy leader, Peter Smith, said it was not about reducing pay or making staff work longer, but flexibility over working times.

In a statement Plymouth City Council said: "The council has made every effort to negotiate an agreement on new terms and conditions but these have now been exhausted."

So far 140 members of staff have voluntarily signed up to the new terms.

'Resistant' to change

The council said it intends to send a letter to affected staff that have not signed up to the new contracts saying they will be dismissed from their current contracts.

They will then be offered new contracts offering the same pay and working hours but with more flexibility over times.

Councillor Smith said: "Unfortunately some of our staff seem to be very resistant to any change and are not prepared to sign up to new working hours, even though we have given them assurances that we can be flexible if they have over-riding personal reasons why they can't work extended opening hours."

Diana Beal, Unite branch secretary, said: "We are pulling together collective grievances on behalf of our members regarding the process and the lack of consultation on a number of related issues.

"The employer walked away from the table. We have put forward three proposals for discussions and sought compromises.

"At no time did the employer fully engage in negotiations.

"Unite is still willing to talk and to find a collective way forward but we will not stand by and let the employer bully and intimidate our members in complying with unreasonable changes to their contracts of employment and terms and conditions."

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