UNION chiefs have urged Wyre Forest District Council bosses to rethink proposals to scrap long service awards for workers and end “ill feeling” amongst staff.

Last week, the authority announced it had finally come to an agreement with both UNISON and GMB on a pay deal that will see 300 members of staff get rises of 4.25 per cent over three years.

But no agreement has been reached on the council’s proposed phasing out of Long Service Award (LSA) to around 50 members of staff after UNISON members rejected it.

In September, the Conservative administration endorsed an offer of 4.5 per cent rises over four years – rejecting the unions’ plea for the authority to rejoin national pay negotiations that it broke away from in 2014.

After a final round of negotiations between chief executive Ian Miller and union reps, a proposed deal was struck that offers increases of 1.5 per cent in 2018/19 and 1.25 per cent for the following two years. A further 0.25 per cent bonus will be paid in 2020. The issue will go before Full Council on December 14 for final approval.

Steve Akers, UNISON Regional Organiser, and lead negotiator for the Trades Unions said: “The improved pay offer was the result of highly effective and professional trade union organisation and campaigning in the run up to the full council meeting in September, and intensive negotiations since then.

“UNISON and GMB members can be proud of what they have achieved.

“Whilst no one currently knows what will happen to Local Government pay nationally, this settlement is above the current one per cent public sector pay cap for the next three years and is an improvement on what the council originally threatened to impose.

“Those council staff not currently members of a trade union should take note, and should join one today. We have had an upsurge in UNISON membership recently.”

He added: “I am pleased that Councillor Nathan Desmond will be recommending to fellow councillors they endorse the settlement and we look forward to signing the Collective Agreement.

“The issue of the long service award is much more contentious. UNISON members overwhelmingly rejected the new proposal from the council.

“UNISON has appealed to the Council to drop the proposals that it voted for on September 27. There is a great deal of ill feeling and loss of goodwill that will continue if the council impose this. We urge them to be flexible on this and review and change their position.”

Councillor Desmond, cabinet member for resources, said: “I am very pleased that the further period of negotiation has allowed us to reach a deal with the unions on pay.

“I will be recommending to my fellow Councillors that they endorse the settlement negotiated by the Chief Executive.”

Council leader Marcus Hart added: “Our priority was to find a pay solution that was affordable to the Council as well as fair to staff. Our position was to avoid a deal that would mean shedding jobs. I am pleased that we have been able to do that.”