A PAY structure which will affect most of Flintshire Councils workforce has been unanimously approved by councillors.
The long-awaited Single Status Agreement, which will lead to pay cuts for some members of staff, was approved at a meeting held by Flintshire Council behind closed doors on Tuesday.
The deal, originally shelved in 2009 over concern about the scale of loss for some work groups and individual employees, will see some staff members actually increase their base-pay, with the pay of many workers staying the same.
New terms and conditions which cover entitlements such as premium payments for working anti-social hours and car allowances will cover the whole workforce apart from teachers.
The Trade Unions, whose representatives attended Tuesday’s meeting, now need to secure the permission of their national offices to ballot the workforce on the proposals.
If this permission is forthcoming the aim is to run the ballot in late 2013.
Cllr Aaron Shotton, leader of the council said: “In unanimously supporting the proposed agreement, county councillors have taken positive action to address the issue of low pay for a significant proportion of the workforce.”
Sarah Taylor of Unison said on behalf of the Trade Unions: “The Joint Trade Unions are supportive of the proposals for both the pay model and the revised terms and conditions.
“The work that has been undertaken in partnership with the authority has been intense and highly complex. While we have not always agreed entirely with each other we have conducted the negotiations in a conducive tone, with respect for each other.
“The negotiations have been open, honest and transparent; that style of working needs to continue to conclude the process and ensure a seamless implementation of the agreement.”
Under a national agreement, and to avoid the litigation and the potential costs of equal pay claims, all councils have to adopt a Single Status Agreement.
The agreement is designed to introduce modern pay structures which ensure there is both fairness of pay and terms and conditions of employment for all employees.
It offers ‘a solution for low pay’ which affects large numbers of predominantly female workers in services such as catering, cleaning and social care and a better deal to protect those who will lose pay and could face personal hardship as a consequence will be introduced.
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 said: “The Single Status 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.
“By modernising the terms and conditions of employment we are able to introduce more flexible services such as weekend waste collection and customer services at no extra cost to the local taxpayer.
“The workforce has anxiously and patiently waited for this new deal.”