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Jan 19 2012

Harrow Plans to Consult Staff on Modernised Terms and Conditions

On Thursday (19th January) Harrow Council’s Cabinet will be recommended to approve consulting with its entire non-teaching workforce on modernising pay and working conditions.

The proposed new terms and conditions affecting all staff would allow the Council to deliver significant savings without the blanket pay cuts or additional redundancies seen at other local authorities across the country. They would also allow the Council to be more flexible in the way it delivers services to residents and be better placed to respond to the needs of residents in future.

Government cuts and other pressures are forcing the Council to find £62m of savings between 2011/12 and 2014/15. The local authority has pledged to reform and modernise the Council to deliver the savings with as little impact on front line services as possible.

Staff will be asked for their views on changes which will enhance existing flexible working arrangements. The move would help the Council to break away from the culture of 9 to 5, Monday to Friday working, which has been in place for many years and restricts the way the Council delivers services.

It would mean employees, where appropriate, could work at weekends or in the evening at no additional cost to the council, to help balance their work and home lives.

Other proposals, drawn up following consultation with staff in 2011, could reduce pay for senior managers, raise minimum pay levels to the London Living Wage and reform pay scales across the Council, introducing a training allowance for apprentices.

The decision to consult with the workforce results from a failure to reach an agreement with the trade unions.  The Council proposes that following the consultation the new terms and conditions are brought in from September 2012.

Cllr Graham Henson, portfolio holder for performance, customer services and corporate services on Harrow Council, said:

“To protect the front line services our residents rely on in a time of shrinking resources, we are carrying out a top-to-bottom overhaul of the way the Council is run.

“While other councils have cut pay across the board, we want to give our staff a choice and see how improved terms and conditions may allow people to better balance their work and personal lives.

“By removing the 9 to 5, Monday to Friday culture, they would also ensure we have a more modern and efficient workforce, that can provide services when our residents need them most.”

Michael Lockwood, chief executive of Harrow Council, said:

“I am disappointed that we were unable to reach agreement with the trade unions. I believe it is now right that we directly hear the views of the workforce and get their advice on any proposals.

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