Sheffield Council staff to face four years of 'pay misery', claims union

Sheffield Town Hall.
Sheffield Town Hall.
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Sheffield Council has defended its pay structure after a union attacked 'unbelievable' real term cuts to salaries.

The authority told employees last month that it planned to stick with its current system increasing salaries by half a 'pay point' increment per year, rather than a whole, as national guidelines suggest, for the next four years.

That means staff at the bottom level of the grade four pay band, on £17,772, would see their salary rise to £17,921 next year, rather than £18,070.

Employees above a certain pay grade will also be forced to take three days unpaid leave - which the council says will probably be at Christmas and New Year.

This system was put in place in 2014, and the council plans to continue it until 2018 at least.

The authority says it values its employees' hard work, but is under 'huge financial pressure' and sticking to a full incremental rise, rather than a half, would impact city services.

But the GMB union, which represents city council workers, says it is four more years of 'pay misery' on top of the national public pay sector pay cap, and has rejected the proposal.

Organiser Lee Parkinson said: “Our members have had enough and simply cannot believe that a Labour party leader is taking further measures to attack the terms and condition of its hardworking employees.

“The reason for this rejection was because staff for many years had no pay rise and when pay rises were reinstated, they were capped at one per cent - well below inflation – leading to a real terms pay cut.

“Members have had an average £10,000 taken from their wage since 2010 due to the pay cap – and that’s not even taking into account the loss to their pensions.

“Enough is enough – its time Sheffield Council gave staff a proper pay rise."

Responding to GMB, the council's director of human resources and customer services Mark Bennett said the aim was to balance the need to 'reward staff commitment and hard work with the need to manage our limited budgets responsibly'.

He added: “Protecting our lowest paid workers continues to be very important to us.

"We will continue to pay the foundation living wage and do not require employees paid less than £22,000 (full time equivalent) to take unpaid leave under the new proposals.

“We will also apply any relevant pay bargaining agreements made nationally, but what we’re talking about now is separate to this.”