Unions back cuts in hours to halve council job losses

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UNIONS have given their backing to proposals to cut working hours at a Yorkshire council as part of moves to tackle massive budget cuts.

Under the opposition Labour Group’s proposals, staff at Hull Council would work a 35-hour week, with an appropriate drop in salary for those earning over £22,500, saving £3.5m. They would also seek to shave £3m off senior staff pay.

The proposals, unveiled in front of Hull’s three Labour MPs, including former Home Secretary Alan Johnson, would also see up to 1,400 job losses halved and the council’s three care homes and day centres protected.

They also envisage a £5m investment in green energy, allowing the council to install photovoltaic panels on buildings including the city’s Guildhall.

The proposals are likely to be outvoted by the ruling Liberal Democrat administration at the crucial budget-setting meeting although Labour is confident of regaining control in the May elections.

Finance spokesman Coun Daren Hale said the Liberal Democrat proposals were falling apart: “The looked-after children’s service was told last Friday they were looking at a modest cut – by Monday they were told the entire service was gone, which clearly shows the budget is unravelling.”

Hull City Unison branch secretary Mike Adamson said the proposals were “a genuine alternative approach to make Hull grow again”.