Central Beds Council cancels pay harmonisation plans
Six hundred staff at Central Beds Council have been told that they cannot have a year-long pay issue resolved by Central Beds Council - because the authority cannot afford it.
Next week the council executive will discuss the harmonisation of pay between staff.
The issue has been expected since the authority was formed more than a year ago, when Central Beds was created from the remnants of three authorities which were abolished in a local government shake-up - Beds County Council, Mid Beds District Council, and South Beds District Council.
Council bosses put aside 500,000 to ensure that staff doing the same job were given equal pay and conditions - but the cost has now been put at 1.5million.
Councillor Richard Stay, deputy leader of Central Beds, said: "When we created Central Bedfordshire Council last year we intended to move all staff on to the same terms and conditions, which had been different across the three legacy councils.
"However, taking into account legal advice, we now have a much better understanding of the full costs of progressing with this approach which exceed what we can afford.
"This is because we would have to apply the most generous and therefore most expensive terms and conditions to all staff.
"In the current economic climate, where we face increasing demands for our services and reducing resources, we do not feel it would be realistic or appropriate to continue with harmonisation in the way planned originally."
Central Beds Council leader Tricia Turner had previously said abolishing the county council would be financially beneficial.
Speaking as leader of Mid Beds Council in 2007 she said: "The Government wants to set up unitary councils managing all local government services by April 2009.
"We know bringing together Mid and South Beds will save money, create a council with a history of good financial management."
Trade union UNISON declined to comment.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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