A PAY structure which would affect most of Flintshire Council’s work force looks set to be discussed behind closed doors tomorrow.
The long-awaited Single Status Agreement, which would lead to pay shifts for thousands of council staff members if accepted, will be discussed at a special meeting of Flintshire’s full council.
The meeting, which will be held at 2pm, is likely to see members of the press and public excluded from listening.
The council has recommended that the exclusion should take place because ‘disclosure could jeopardise consultations or negotiations with employees’.
Trade Union representatives have been invited to attend the meeting, but will also be excluded when the crucial vote is taken.
Reports from the council’s Chief Executive Colin Everett and head of human resources and organisational development, Helen Stappleton, are also not likely to be made available to the public and press.
The deal, which was shelved in 2009 because of concern over the scale of loss for some work groups and individual employees, would see some staff members’ pay increase and others receive a pay cut. More workers would get a rise, a report said.
Since the plan, in which most employees would see their pay remain the same, 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.
Council leader Cllr Aaron Shotton previously said: “It is a hard balancing act between what we can afford for a new pay structure and agreeing something acceptable to the workforce and protecting 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.
“More than 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.”
On low pay the council has proposed to delete the three lowest pay points in the current pay structure so the lowest paid employees will be paid more than the minimum wage, from £6.90 to the current living wage of £7.45 per hour.
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.
Chief executive Colin Everett previously 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.”