A UNION has warned a council it is alienating staff, after it became the only one in Essex to impose a pay freeze this year.

Unison says Maldon Council is causing future problems for the district by imposing the measure.

Two thirds of staff now want their pay agreed nationally.

Senior officers, who promised to review staff pay and working hours, are due to present their suggestions to the finance and corporate services committee tomorrow.

Among them are closing the council offices in the afternoon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, giving staff an extra day off, a 1 per cent cost of living allowance increase and backdating any agreed pay rise.

A spokesman for Unison said: “This makes Maldon Council fall out of step with other local authorities in Essex in terms of salaries, leading to problems with recruitment and retention of staff.

“This will also have a knock-on effect in terms of the economic prosperity of the Maldon district, which has already suffered over the years, as the local population will look outside of the district for employment.”

Final budget decisions will be made early next year.