THOUSANDS of Swindon Council workers will have no option but to accept new pay grades, including wage cuts for almost a fifth of employees.
The long-awaited review of pay grades, known as single status, will be implemented from early next year despite a failure by the council to agree terms with trade unions.
It is feared that the move could lead to industrial action and unions are currently seeking legal advice, according to one councillor.
A formal consultation period has now started, which will involve letters being sent to staff in January asking them to accept the new conditions.
If they refuse they will receive formal dismissal letters before being offered re-employment with no right to appeal against the grading.
Of the council’s 5,979 workers 19 per cent will see their pay cut, 62 per cent will be unaffected and a further 19 cent will get an increase in their salary. Employees seeing their wages cut will be protected until April 2011.
Councillor Derique Montaut, leader of Swindon Council’s Labour group, said the Conservative administration should not be going ahead without union approval. He said: “They are going to continue to work to find an agreement with the trade unions but without that it makes it very difficult.
“They really need to have union involvement on appeals or agreements will be hard to come by.”
“I think the fact that there is no involvement with unions means there is a greater chance of industrial action. The unions are seeking legal advice over single status.”
A series of allowances have also been axed as part of the review, including essential car users allowances, which will be stopped from April 2011.
An allocation of £1.7m has been set aside by the council to cover the increase in the pay bill.