The council’s budget for 2019-21 went through at its full council meeting on February 14.
This budget included provision for a ‘Review of staff terms and conditions’ and had £1.2million set aside to achieve as cuts by March 2021.
£1.2million is only a small fraction of the council’s pay bill, but nevertheless the inclusion of this saving marks a change in approach by WSCC. Never before, despite repeated years of budget cuts, have staff been called upon to contribute to meeting the council’s deficit through cuts to their own terms and conditions. Staff have already contributed significantly through years of below-inflation pay awards. This is not an approach we wish to see widened at WSCC.
There may however be a case for some aspects of the total pay and reward architecture to be reviewed. Some terms and conditions are complicated, and so complicated they often lead to errors which cause untold stress for staff – such as overpayments which are still a sorry and regular occurrence.
But members should be aware that your West Sussex branch will be engaged on your behalf soon in what the council is calling its ‘Employment Based Costs Review’.
If you are approached by your manager for information on your terms of conditions, or even to ask you to relinquish some aspect of your terms and conditions, for example, an allowance you receive, please alert UNISON straight away.
Ask your colleagues to join UNISON – if we have strength in numbers, we can achieve more to protect and defend your hard-fought terms and conditions at work.