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Fury at council bosses' pay rise
UNIONS and Wiltshire Council staff have reacted angrily to the news that senior council bosses are set to see their salaries rocket by up to £19,000 a year.
The council’s staffing committee has recommended that top bosses’ pay is increased by 16 per cent, despite announcing it needs to make £120m cuts over the next four years.
Unions are furious about the decision, which comes just weeks after the council accepted 250 voluntary redundancies – cutting its workforce by 5.7 per cent.
“For many hard working and loyal staff this is the final insult,” said chairman of Wiltshire’s Unison branch, Mike Osment.
“They have been forced to take on extra responsibilities and work even harder because of the job cuts, but it is their senior managers who will be getting paid more.
“Many staff have seen their jobs re-banded, which means they are actually getting paid less.
“This has a very negative impact on staff morale, everyone is talking about it and no one is happy.”
Wiltshire Council says it needs to bump up senior managers’ pay in order to retain and recruit staff in the highest level positions.
“They have used children’s services as an example but that department has only just been described as adequate by Ofsted after failing its previous inspection,” said Mr Osment. “So there might be other reasons why they are having problems recruiting.”
“This is just a way for the council to widen the gap between the top bosses and everybody else. So much for treating everyone equally; it is an appalling decision.
“Many of these pay rises will be higher than some employees’ entire annual salary.”
Non-executive council staff have their pay rises set at 1 per cent.
Mr Osment said the unions will be pushing for a more generous pay deal next year.
“They might say they are making budget cuts, including 7.6 per cent in staffing costs, but clearly they do have money to spend on wages,” he said. “We would like to see this money fairly shared not just the top executives getting even richer.
“We feel this gives us extra influence when we come to make our pay claim next year.”
Wiltshire Council says it has cut the number of top executives from 21 to 18 which will save money despite the wage increases.
A recent review discovered that service directors are being paid under the median national salary the council has committed to.
Council leader Jane Scott also told the staffing committee: “Why would people come to Wiltshire at the very lowest of local government pay rates and take the highest of responsibilities in local government services?”
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