A decision to cut out-of-hours pay for Wiltshire's social workers has been paused, following uproar from employees and their trade unions.

A working group will now be set-up to discuss the proposed changes to unsocial hours, standby and call out policies.

When the work of that group is concluded the unions will commence further consultation with their members on those specific policies.

The changes included a proposed increment freeze, plus some changes to the overtime, standby, callout and unsocial hours policies.

The council was looking to make £10.1m in staffing savings over the next two years.

A majority of these savings would be made through the management of vacancies and recruitment but around £2.1m would come from the proposed savings from existing staff terms and conditions.

The council has been consulting with the three trade unions, UNISON, Unite the Union and GMB, in an attempt to reach an agreement on changes.

In a statement, Wiltshire Council said: "Following feedback from staff and consultation with the trade unions, the council has agreed to separate the proposed increment freeze and changes to the overtime policy from the standby, callout and unsocial hours’ proposals.

"As a result, the trade unions have agreed to commence further consultation on the on the increment freeze and changes to the overtime policy.

"This means that consultation on the other proposals has paused. This has been agreed with the trade unions who have committed to now work as part of a working group with senior council representatives to identify ways in which the impact of the proposed changes to standby, callout and unsocial hours payment can be reduced, while still ensuring the polices are fair and can be applied consistently so they can better support the way the council works to deliver services to its communities.

"Once this is concluded the trade unions will commence further consultation on proposed changes to these policies."

Terence Herbert, chief executive of Wiltshire Council, added: “We hugely value and respect our staff, and throughout the process of putting together proposals on changes to terms and conditions, we have stressed the utmost importance on ensuring all feedback is listened to and considered.

"We recognise this a challenging time and there is no easy solution to making budget savings. However, we need to standardise policies and ensure they are applied in an appropriate and consistent way that supports the delivery of services across the council.

"We also have to deliver savings outlined in the recently agreed budget by improving the efficiency of these policies. Ultimately we are taking steps to avoid redundancies and protect employment as far as possible and this is a commitment I made to the trade unions and staff."