MOST of Flintshire Council’s workforce are set to be affected by a new pay structure.
Flintshire Council will be recommended to adopt a long-awaited Single Status Agreement at a special meeting, to be held on Tuesday, October 29.
A single status pay deal, shelved in 2009, will be debated by county councillors and if approved will lead to pay cuts for some staff members by next April. Other employees could see an increase in their pay and many will be unaffected.
In 2009 there was concern over the scale of loss for some work groups and individual employees.
Now Flintshire Council say it is confident it has a more balanced agreement which will be acceptable to council members and the workforce, who will have to be balloted on the proposals.
There are two significant features to the new proposed agreement including ‘a solution for low pay’ which affects large numbers of predominantly female workers in services such as catering, cleaning and social care.
Secondly, there will be a better deal to protect those who will lose pay and could face personal hardship as a consequence.
On low pay the council proposes to delete the three lowest pay points in the current pay structure so the lowest paid employees will be paid above the Minimum Wage (at £6.90 above the Minimum Wage by £0.59 per hour) at the bottom of their career grade and will meet the Living Wage (£7.45 per hour) at the top of their grade.
National trades unions have long argued low pay in local government is some of the worst in the public sector and a growing number of responsible public sector employers have been campaigning for the Living Wage to be adopted across England and Wales.
On pay protection all employees who suffer a loss in base pay under the proposed agreement will have their pay protected from loss for the first two years.
Those who suffer significant loss will have their pay protected in part for a further two years.
The council has a duty of care to its employees and has to balance the cost of the Agreement with managing morale and performance, and in preventing key employees leaving for better paid jobs elsewhere.
Council leader, Cllr Aaron Shotton, said: “It is a hard balancing act between what we can afford for a new pay structure and agreeing something which is acceptable to the workforce and protects some of the lowest paid workers.
“The council workforce has suffered three years of national pay freezes and this has hit the lowest paid hard at a time when energy, fuel and food inflation has been at an all time high. This is a good deal for the workforce and for the public who want to see motivated workers behind high performing local services.
“Over 75 per cent of Flintshire Council employees live in Flintshire and many others shop and spend their leisure time here. Our workforce support local businesses through their daily spending and by ensuring fair pay and ending low pay for such a large workforce the local economy will see a benefit.”
Chief executive Colin Everett said: “The proposed agreement represents four years of hard work to get the best deal which protects the council from legal claims for historic unfair pay, is acceptable to the workforce and is affordable. The workforce has anxiously and patiently waited for a new deal.
“By modernising the terms of conditions of employment we are able to introduce more flexible service at no extra cost to the local taxpayer.