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‘Scrooge’ jibe over council staff pay award

todayOctober 21, 2021 4

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West Norfolk Council leaders have been compared to Scrooge in a debate over additional pay and holiday entitlements for staff.

Plans for a 2.5 per cent pay rise, backdated to April, plus an additional day’s annual leave, were approved at a meeting of the authority’s ruling cabinet yesterday.

But union leaders had called for an eight per cent increase, which they claimed was both “realistic” and “fair”.

King's Court, Borough Council of West Norfolk.. (49900631)
King’s Court, Borough Council of West Norfolk.. (49900631)

And independent Jo Rust backed them during the session at Lynn Town Hall, describing the award as “insufficient”.

She also criticised the plan to designate Christmas Eve as a day’s leave for staff, despite Unison calling for that as part of its pay claim, saying: “Christmas Eve as a day off seems rather like Scrooge.”

And she warned the increase would not only fail to meet rising living costs, but could also lead to a much bigger problem.

She said: “Our staff can leave and go anywhere to get more.

“We risk losing staff and not being able to recruit staff.”

But council leader Stuart Dark said the increase had been brought forward now in order to ensure that staff had more money in their pay packets before Christmas.

The increase includes a 0.25 per cent element which reflects a higher national pay award last year than what was agreed locally.

The measures also agreed a base hourly wage of £9.50, up from £9.25

Mr Dark said: “I hope that does send a message from the administration that we fully recognise how important our staff are and we want to reward them accordingly.”

The meeting was also told that discussions will begin “as soon as possible” on pay arrangements for the 2022-23 financial year.

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