Wigan Council has today (March 31) begun a consultation with 9,000 members of its workforce on the outcome of the review of its pay and reward strategy.
Councils nationwide have all had to examine their pay structures and other terms and conditions in response to the national agreement negotiated between local government employers and trade unions.
Over the past three years Wigan council has carried out a job evaluation exercise that will result in majority of its posts transferring onto a new pay scale and subject to revised terms and conditions in line with these agreements. Other job roles including chief officers and youth workers for example will also be reviewed in the coming months.
To date, all job roles that are covered by the negotiating body the National Joint Council (NJC) have been reviewed using a specially designed evaluation program. The scheme was developed by employers in conjunction with trade unions Unison, GMB and Unite.
Wigan Council Chief Executive Joyce Redfearn said:
“The objectives of the review are to ensure that the council introduces equal pay for jobs of equal value; is able to provide a modern pay structure that enables flexible working practices; and harmonises other terms and conditions such as leave and additional payments.
“I am confident that the package we are putting forward will maintain the Council’s position as the area’s best employer offering secure employment in a fragile economic climate.
“It has been a long and complicated process and the unions have been involved during most stages of the review including conducting the job evaluations themselves.
“We began consultation with unions on the proposals last month and as a result some changes have already been made to the package we are proposing to our workforce today.”
The proposed outcome of the review will see:
- 83% of salaries stay the same or increase while the remaining 17% of posts will receive two years’ protection at their current salaries meaning no one will see their pay reduced until at least October 2011
- Annual leave will be harmonised with some staff gaining or losing days’ leave to ensure consistency
- Overtime and additional payments such as pay for bank holidays and weekend working will be standardised across all employees
- The flexitime scheme will be improved and core hours removed to provide greater flexibility for many staff and
- All employees will remain eligible for the local government pension scheme – one of the best pension schemes in the country.
The Chief Executive added:
“Inevitably the outcome will not be the one some staff had been hoping for, which is particularly difficult given the current economic climate but we are doing all we can to mediate the effects. Current salary rates will be protected for the next two years to give staff time to adjust to any change.
“We are also providing a 24- hour advice and support service and an employee helpline to answer any queries our staff my have. We have provided a dedicated section of our intranet and managers will be holding meetings with staff to discuss any of their concerns.”
Letters were sent to everyone’s homes by post on Monday, March 30 and staff have been asked to comment on all aspects of the review by mid June. The review is due to be implemented by October 2009.