The ruling Labour group in York has adopted a Green proposal to cut hours instead of jobs, previously blocked by the council.

York Green Group leader Cllr Andy D’Agorne has welcomed the press revelation that discussions with trade unions on budget cuts have included options for a cut in working hours for council staff.

This was a proposal that Greens had been working on prior to the 2011/12 council budget which could have saved £5m. The proposal foundered because of lack of time to negotiate with the unions before the budget meeting.

D’Agorne said: "Keeping more people in a job (with a cut in pay) has to make sense not only for those whose job is saved but also for the local economy.

"We dont agree that low paid staff should be paying for the bankers bail out, but the council has to balance the books and sharing the work around is the fairest way to do that."

The proposal from the Greens aimed to protect services and jobs through a reduction of top level pay and working hours across the Council.

According to official council figures, a 5% salary cut to all staff earning over £30,000 per year could save around £1.7 million.

Add to this a reduction of the working week to 35 hours (with a proportionate loss of pay) for the majority of Council employees, and the Council would be able to save over £5 million.