Extension to unpaid leave agreement will save another £890k

Workers at Blackburn with Darwen Council have agreed to continue a cost saving unpaid leave agreement.

Trade unions supported the move as part of wider efforts to safeguard services and jobs over the next two years as the Council tackles a £30m funding gap - 20% of its budget. 

A further £890k savings can be added to the original £3m now the scheme is running for four years until 2014/15. To reduce the impact on residents, the unpaid leave dates are fixed and are attached to Bank Holidays. 

Councillor Andy Kay, executive member for Resources at the Council, praised staff for their contribution and said:  “The continuing co-operation of the Trade Unions is helping us mitigate the impact of these unprecedented Government cuts. 

“Closing main buildings and stopping services on these days does cause inconvenience for people. Hopefully this is outweighed by the fact it will go some way to protecting the things our communities need and value.

“We have been careful to ensure that services which the most vulnerable people rely on continue as usual.”

Ros Shepherd, joint trades union representative at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “Its testimony to the dedication of Council staff that they are willing to sacrifice pay in this way in addition to a three year pay freeze. It’s a significant contribution to the latest cutbacks the Council faces and will help avoid redundancies.” 

Information on the impact of the days, which are spread over the year, is regularly publicised by the Council. 

The Council’s budget is due to be finalised at the annual Finance Council meeting on March 4. The next unpaid leave date this year is Tuesday, April 2 – the day after the Easter Monday Bank Holiday.