Union considers action as equality policy leads to council pay cuts

Workers at North East Lincolnshire Council face having their salaries slashed by up to 15% because the authority has attempted to cut costs while implementing equal pay regulations.

Public sector union Unison is considering taking industrial action and taking out a number of equal pay cases against the council because of the way it has implemented the 1997 single-status agreement.

The union said single-status should increase overall salaries by 5% in unitary authorities, with particular gains for social care staff due to long-standing gender pay inequalities.

But the council decided to implement the changes, which came into force this month, while reducing the overall pay bill.

For social workers this has meant a reduction in their pay scale from 12 points to one, meaning cuts of up to 15 per cent for some staff.

Social worker Kate Warrender told Personnel Today sister publication Community Care: “Single pay points effectively destroy careers and professional status. Myself and my colleagues are doing our best to fight this locally.”

A local Unison official said the branch had already carried out a provisional ballot for industrial action.

Helen Isaacs, the council’s deputy director of HR, said: “[We] are currently introducing a new pay structure which will see social workers moving to single pay points.

“In some cases this will involve a reduction in salary, but where this is the case the council will be protecting current salary levels for three years.”

She said some social workers may also have their salaries increased on appeal.

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