12:20PM, Wednesday 24 October 2012
A shock ultimatum has been given to Royal Borough staff - sign new contracts or face dismissal.
Councillors agreed at a meeting of the employment panel last night to impose new contracts on all staff.
Protesters rallied outside the meeting at Maidenhead Town Hall last night. One demonstrator was so angry about proposed changes that he came dressed as a Halloween skeleton carrying a banner saying 'Tory councillors are Grim'.
Two thirds have already accepted the changes. But now, those who refuse to sign will be sacked.
The council said employees with have an option to be re-employed but this will have to be under the new terms. If workers choose this option, their continued service status will not be affected.
The authority has also withdrawn from the national pay agreement and will negoiate with staff on a local level in future.
The immediate effect of the new contracts is likely to be limited with basic pay levels not affected. But some benefits will disappear.
The authority will end the 'golden handcuffs' scheme, where some staff are paid extra for agreeing to stay a certain number of years.
Car allowances paid to some staff will be phased out over two years and private healthcare offered to a small number of employees will cease.
But councillors backed down over plans to remove the 'market premia' enhanced salary paid to some - mainly social workers - who were recruited at a time when there was a great shortage of people with their skills.
Salaries that do include this though will be reviewed next year and no new employees will receive it.
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