UNION chiefs have described council plans to change the paid time it allows for officials in the town hall as a ‘vicious and vindictive attack.’

The authority wants to reduce the amount of paid time Trade Unions have to support staff within the town hall — but chiefs say this will simply be reverting to an original arrangement which was in place before temporary increases were brought in 10 years ago.

Under the current facility time agreement, the council fund one full-time representative for the Unison and GMB unions as well as a full time assistant branch secretary and the equivalent of 3.1 other full time posts shared between four people.

GMB also has a further full time funded post shared by two part time stewards.

The council wants to lower this to just the two full-time officials with all other positions ending.

A spokesman said: “Since around 2006/7 the council has paid for temporary increases in facility time to further support staff.

“Since this time there has been a reduction in staffing levels across the council at all levels, which now needs to be reflected in facility time.

“This is not an attack on any Trade Union; we value the work they do and are simply proposing to revert back to our original facility time agreement.”

Unison bosses said while they accept they should take a fair share of the cuts, they are unhappy with how little they have been consulted on the plans.

Branch secretary Bernadette Gallagher: “I had a 10 minute briefing before this went to cabinet, that’s all. If this was other job losses we would have been informed months in advance and entered into a proper discussion.

“There are also some really petty changes in these plans, like not allowing union members to share the chairing of our joint committee hearings - there is no good reason for that.”

Assistant branch secretary Andrea Egan added: “This is a vicious, vindictive attack because they don’t like us asking difficult questions.”