Nottinghamshire Council has cut annual leave for long-serving staff, including social workers, and scrapped car user allowances as part of a plan to save £120m. Redundancy payments for all staff have also been reduced.
The local Unison branch agreed to call off 13 weeks of industrial action and accept the new terms, but said its members were “discontented” with the outcome.
Staff who have worked at the council for 10 years or longer have lost their extra two days annual leave, a move that has antagonised members, the union said.
Authorised car users, who previously received a lump sum of between £795 and £909 a year depending on the size of their car, now receive a flat mileage rate of 40p a mile up to 10,000 miles and 25p a mile thereafter.
“The changes will help to bring the council’s terms and conditions into line with other neighbouring authorities like Derbyshire and Lincolnshire,” said a council spokesperson.
Martin Sleath, Unison’s social care convener at the council, said the changes would hit morale.
The reduced holiday entitlement in particular was “getting people’s backs up”, especially in social work “where people are putting in 50-60 hours a week”.
“I don’t think it will help with recruitment and retention,” he said. “A lot of people will look at joining an agency instead.”
Nottinghamshire recently spent £1.5m on agency social work teams because it does not have enough permanent staff to handle a 43% jump in child protection referrals.
The industrial action, which ended on 30 June, saw Unison members at the council work to rule and refuse to use their cars for work.
In the end, 60% voted in favour of accepting the council’s proposals. “People are discontented with the outcome and only accepted on the basis of weariness,” said Sleath.
Andy Stewart, cabinet member for personnel and performance at the council, said: “The council is facing significant financial challenges.
“We must find £120m to save or reinvest over the next four years, so we had to look at our employees’ terms and conditions.”