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4.5 Day Week At Highland Council Not Viable

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

GMB Scotland Say Proposal By Highland Council To Move To Four And A Half Day Working Week Is Not Viable

There will be particular legislative impacts on issues as essential as education and winter maintenance so we’d rather staff applied for condensed hours than having that imposed says GMB.

GMB Scotland, the union for public services commented on a proposal to change the normal working pattern of Highland Council and move to a 4.5 day week, closing on Friday lunchtime. See notes to editors for copy of Highland Council press release dated 23 November 2015

Liz Gordon, GMB Scotland Regional Officer, said “We understand the council want to condense everbody’s hours. This is not a plan that we see as viable. We don’t see where cost savings would be made. And we’re concerned about the impact on staff, condensing a whole week’s work in this way.

It would pose all sorts of complications including the costs of child minding, for example. There are also service delivery concerns. There will be particular legislative impacts on issues as essential as education and winter maintenance.”

We’d rather staff applied for condensed hours than having that imposed.”

End

Contact: Liz Gordon on 01463 233088 07920 838588 or Mick Conroy 07921 289 737 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

Copy of Highland Council press release dated 23 November 2015

Savings Proposal could change Council’s working week

Members of the Citizens’Panel will be asked to take part in a survey on a range of savings proposals, to be issued later this week.

The Highland Council will meet in February to set a balanced budget for 2016/17. This will be particularly challenging this year as, based on current assumptions, we expect to face a gap of over £21m. Service management teams have been developing savings proposals over recent months against a target of 6% and some of these proposals will form part of a consultation with the Citizens Panel from Friday 27 November.

One of the saving proposals is to change the normal working pattern of the Council and move to a 4.5 day week, closing on Friday lunchtime. If this proposal were agreed by Members, there could be significant savings arising from the costs of running facilities including heat, light and power.

Most staff would still be working their existing contracted hours, but doing so over 4.5 days. Some people may wish to reduce their contracted hours and this option could be available on a voluntary basis where practical.

Chief Executive Steve Barron has written to all staff who will also be briefed by their service directors in due course. He said: “It is important that to note that this is currently a proposal only; one which needs further work and which would only be implemented with the agreement of Elected Members in February. Clearly there will be some Service areas where this could pose practical difficulties, hence the wish to consult and to think carefully about impact and feasibility.”

Budget Leader Cllr Bill Fernie said: “At this stage this is just a proposal, but we think it is a good idea and one which compare very favourably with some of the other options coming forward, and we will be consulting widely. It is our priority to maintain services and jobs in Highland and as such, this is part of a package of proposed measures, with the aim of setting a balanced budget, whilst protecting key services.”

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