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How to save council cash

Sara Williams believes that the additional day's leave given to Oxford City Council staff following some Bank Holidays are an "outdated perk which must add thousands to the wage bill".

Far from adding to the wage bill, it would cost the council more to abolish these added days.

Compensating staff for a detrimental change to their terms of employment can be very expensive.

In addition, by closing council offices for an extra day over Bank Holidays, the council saves money due to the reduction in lighting and heating costs.

As public sector pay continues to lag behind pay in the private sector, fringe benefits, such as concessionary days and a relatively secure pension, help to keep many good members of staff working in local government.

Given that many of us work long hours in high-pressure front line services and often do unpaid overtime, a total of 26 days' annual leave entitlement, including the added days, is not overly generous.

If Ms Williams wants to find ways in which Oxford City Council can save money, she should follow Unison's lead and challenge the enormous amount it spends on consultants more than £1m a year.

If the work these consultants are doing is worth doing at all, it could be done, and probably done better, by directly employed staff, at a fraction of the cost, freeing hundreds of thousands of pounds to invest in improving our public services.

Emma Goodall, Branch secretary,Oxford City Unison, St Aldate's Chambers, Oxford

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