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New employment body for government staff on cards

Plans for a sweeping reform of the bodies which set pay-and-conditions for thousands of government employees have been unveiled.

Chief Minister Allan Bell has announced proposals for a new Public Services Commission to act as a single employing authority for both civil servants and manual workers.

The reforms would see an end to the Civil Service Commission in its current form and abolition of the long-established Whitley Council.

The Public Services Commission would become responsible for the employment of 4000 civil servants and other categories of public sector workers including manual and craft workers, equivalent to half central government's workforce.

Currently manual workers are employed by government departments and boards under terms and conditions set by the Whitley Council, a joint union-employer negotiating forum, conditions which will prevail under the new body.

Allan Bell says bringing together different categories of employees under one authority will reduce bureaucracy and foster a culture change, making redeployment of staff more straightforward and helping government respond to changing circumstances.

A public consultation will be held with a view to legislation being drawn-up by late July.

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