SOUTH Tyneside Council staff who support ‘vulnerable’ young people in the borough face a whopping £12,000 pay cut, it emerged today.
The move is part of a restructuring of 28 members of staff who support schools and young people with issues to do with attendance, careers advice and guidance and youth support.
Under the proposals going through a period of consultation, three staff would move to reduced “term-time only” contracts which would result in their existing £31,000-a-year salary being reduced to £19,000.
A further 17 staff would be put on a lower pay grade – and as a result face salary cuts of £8,000.
The remaining eight employees would retain a Band Seven employment grading status and their pay would be unaffected.
The plan comes as South Tyneside Council bids to make massive budget savings.
Today, Coun George Elsom, the leader of the opposition on South Tyneside Council, described the proposals as “immoral”.
But a council spokesman said it could not discuss details of the figures involved as negotiations were ongoing and he said the consultation was designed to “ensure people are fairly rewarded for the level of work they do.”
It is not a view shared by Coun Elsom, who said: “They have just recommended the establishment of allowances for the chair and vice chair of the council’s Safeguarding and Educational Panel, of £4,817 and £2,409, for attending just six meetings a year and yet the staff working with these vulnerable children are facing huge pay cuts.
“These are devastating amounts of money to lose. Imagine the impact it would have on families. People could face having to sell their homes as a result.”
Coun Elsom, independent representative for Cleadon Park, added: “I understand that a restructuring is necessary, but these cuts are immoral.
“I’m told that staff have said they would accept a cut of £5,000 each but it seems the council can’t accept this, that it needs to carry out the restructuring.
“None of the senior officers are facing cuts. You just can’t treat our staff like this.”
A council spokesman said: “We are consulting with the trades unions and with the staff concerned on proposals around a restructure within Services for Young People to reflect the changing demand for these services.
“We always give careful consideration to the roles and responsibilities of each post when establishing appropriate pay and grading, and the proposals will go before the council’s HR Committee in due course.
“The purpose of the consultation is to consider and discuss the proposals with the individuals affected so that we can ensure people are fairly rewarded for the level of work they do, and levels of pay are still subject to further discussions.
“Pay protection would also apply under council policy to any staff affected.”
No timescale has been given for when a final decision over pay restructuring will be made.
n High price to pay for cuts ... Page 6