29/09/2011 - Permalink

Ground-breaking meeting between Shropshire Council and trade unions

Related topics: Democracy

Negotiations between Shropshire Council and the trade unions UNITE, GMB and UNISON are moving towards reaching a collective agreement.

The progress that has been made is as a result of on-going positive meetings between Shropshire Council and all three unions.

Today all the unions that represent Shropshire Council staff have come together with the council with the aim of reaching an agreement on the way forward, for both staff and the people of Shropshire.

The suggested changes include areas that would potentially offset the 2.7 per cent salary reduction planned for next year. There is also a commitment from all parties to continue with talks to try and find other ways of reducing this further, where possible.

Councillor Keith Barrow, leader of Shropshire Council, said:

“I am extremely pleased that we have managed to reach a point in our negotiations that we all now feel comfortable with. We have always said we would be flexible about the detail of the new terms and conditions provided that they achieved the necessary savings, and all parties have come up with some really useful ideas to help us move forward.

“The council has had extremely tough savings targets imposed on it, and we have no choice but to meet those targets. However, we have done all we can to work with all of the unions to reach a compromise which I think demonstrates how much we value our staff and the excellent work they do for the people of Shropshire.”

Alan James, Shropshire UNISON branch secretary, said:

“I am really glad talks have continued following last week’s meeting. We have met with the leader of the council and officers today and we now have a proposal that we can put to our members. The discussions have been open and productive. We feel these proposals are a step forward for staff, whilst still helping to make the massive savings that the council is required to achieve.”

Joan Clarke, from GMB, and Di Phillips, branch chair from UNITE said:

“We have continued to negotiate from the outset. Although our members aren’t comfortable with the changes there is an understanding of the council predicament. The negotiations will continue focusing on year two of the cuts and to a degree we are confident that we can reach an agreement.”