ALL Cornwall Council staff will be eligible to be paid a “living wage” under a new pay agreement which is due to go to union members.
The changes have been agreed by unions and council bosses following negotiations which covered pay and conditions for staff.
With the council facing a drop in funding from central government it is having make cuts of £190million over the next five years.
To address this the council has already undergone a shake-up of its management structure which will save an initial £400,000.
The proposed collective agreement will cover all directly employed staff at the council.
The main items include the implementation of a “living wage” from April 1, 2015 – this currently stands at £7.65 per hour which equates to a minimum salary of £14,758 for a full time employee.
It also includes a commitment to national annual pay awards; commitment to retain national terms and conditions including sick pay and retaining the existing severance and pay protection policies until September 2017.
Council chief executive Andrew Kerr said: “The proposed Collective Agreement has been developed following negotiations with the main trade unions, including Unison, GMB and Unite.
“This proposal would improve the wages of our lowest paid staff and would deliver over £5.4m savings in the next 5 years towards the £190m challenge facing the council. It will enable us to help deliver the savings we need without cutting pay and terms and conditions more radically and we hope that we can achieve this by agreement.
“We can be justifiably proud of how we have worked together to address similar financial challenges in the past and I hope that we can do the same again now. We will continue to work closely with trade unions and staff to look at ways in which we can reduce our workforce by voluntary means where possible, whilst continuing to target investment in the skills that will be needed in our workforce for the future.”
Stuart Roden, UNISON regional organiser, said: “The level of cuts imposed on the council by central government are unprecedented and will mean drastic cuts to front line services and jobs. We believe it is right that we work with the council to explore ways to protect essential service for our local community.
“We are, however, concerned that the pay of local government workers has been cut by 18% over the last three years and we must ensure that national pay rates are maintained and that particular help is given to the low paid to raise their living standards.
“We will now consult our members on the proposals. We believe that these proposals strike the right balance between protecting services and helping the lower paid. We will, therefore, be recommending acceptance of the package but this is subject to a ballot of all members.”