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Critics have hit back at Dundee Council claiming that the cuts suggested by the organisation will affect lowest paid staff and vulnerable staff such as women on maternity leave.
The council wants to transform the way it pays staff in an attempt to make savings after the organisation was told it had to save £23 million from its budget. Some trade unions such as the GMB have condemned the proposals warning that under the plans from the council workers on a low income would be worse off and women on maternity leave could lose thousands.
Under the proposals, the Dundee Council suggests the scrapping of extra payments for working weekends or public holidays other than five days over the festive period. Staff will only be paid overtime after an employee has worked 40 hours in a week while maternity pay will be reduced to six weeks at 90% followed by 21 weeks’ half pay and then 21 weeks at the statutory minimum.
Under the current payment structure, staff currently get paid overtime at a time and a half rate, if they work more than 37 hours a week, however, if the new proposals go ahead overtime rates, will also be cut.
The new proposals also suggest that staff will be redeployed to a lower paid role in time with pay only maintained at their previous level for a year rather than three. Shift workers will, however, have an increase of 7.5% in their wages.
The proposals have been heavily criticised by a number of experts and trade unions. In a statement, the GMB said that the plans were simply not fair: “This will result in low paid female workers losing hundreds if not thousands of pounds.
“So far the proposals look like they will hit the lowest paid hardest while none of the proposed changes will affect those at the top.
Regional organiser for the GMB Drew Duffy said the proposals suggested by the council will affect almost half of the council’s 8,000 workers and a significant amount of their members. He said: “We think around 60-70% of our members will be worse off. It is pretty drastic.
“It looks to be the ones at the lower end of the pay grading who will lose out.
“The changes to maternity is going to affect a large proportion of women. The age profile for council staff is for over forties but as time goes on they are going to employ younger women.”
Despite the criticism, the council reiterated the fact that the proposals had not been finalised. A spokesman for Dundee City Council said: “The council is currently reviewing its terms and conditions of employment in consultation with the trade unions to ensure a fair pay, grading and employee package.
“While these discussions are still going on it would not be appropriate to comment further.”
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