Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Union to Ballot Again over Pay

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Union to Ballot Again over Pay

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN SUTTON

A ROW over pay has broken out at a Teesside town hall.

Redcar and Cleveland Council want to stop paying enhancements - extra cash paid to workers during unsociable hours - to staff.

A spokesman said the pay adjustments were in keeping with modern working practices in local authorities, and necessary to provide "value for money" for the taxpayer.

Trade union Unison, has already held a ballot of members to gauge opinion on the proposals but due to an administrative error it must go to staff a second time. Around 180 staff are understood to be affected by the plans.

At a Unison meeting of care home workers in Redcar and Cleveland Town Hall on August 18, some members complained they hadn't received ballot papers. Regional organiser Mike Hill, pictured, said the first ballot had shown Unison members were 2-1 in favour of the restructure.

It is hoped new ballots, due to be dispatched today, will be returned within 14 days. Those staff who are entitled to enhancement payments under their current contracts will be asked if they want to be "bought out" of the deal.

This involves a one-off payment of a year's worth of enhancements.

The council spokesman added: "This offer of a one-off payment before changing terms and conditions is recognised as good working practice and seeks to support the individual in their transition to reduced payments over the coming year, particularly, in this period of economic uncertainty." The Evening Gazette understands the proposals will impact on workers, such as carers or street wardens, who were hired before 2004.

Those who were engaged on contracts after then do not get extra pay for evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays and will not be balloted by Unison, which represents about 3,000 council employees.

Redcar and Cleveland Council said it will give one day of extra annual leave as part of the deal, and night work allowances and sleep-over allowances will remain. …

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