Anger over Wiltshire Council's pay hike for managers
The announcement that senior Wiltshire Council managers are to receive bumper pay increases has brought criticism from councillors and employees.
A recent review of management pay found the council’s senior and associate directors were being paid under the median national salary the council has committed to, and on Wednesday its staffing committee agreed to increase top executive pay - just weeks after accepting 252 voluntary staff redundancies and reducing its workforce by 5.7 per cent.
The number of service directors at the council is due to be reduced from 21 to 18, with a chief executive and three corporate director positions cut.
This will see the total budget for senior salaries fall, despite individual managers receiving more money.
Among those receiving the increase is director of children’s services Carolyn Godfrey, who was heavily criticised when Ofsted branded the council’s child protection services inadequate last year.
She is due to receive a salary increase of anywhere between £4,000 and £16,000.
All senior managers will see their pay packets swell, with some receiving 18 per cent increases, and the council is currently trying to recruit a new service director for children and families.
One employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I’ve worked for the council for six years, and I’ve only had one pay rise of one per cent.
“Right across the board everyone is so despondent it’s unreal. I think they need to be made aware.
“I earn £15,000 a year, and one per cent is absolutely nothing; how the hell are we supposed to survive on that when everything keeps going up all the time?
“The whole general feeling is really, really low.”
Independent Councillor Jeff Osborn also criticised the decision.
He said: “This is a gross inequality, and all this will do is add to the greater loss of morale at the council.
“Staff members in middle-ranking roles are saying this is the final straw; if you were only getting a one per cent pay rise and you looked up and saw your immediate boss getting his salary jacked up by 20 per cent you wouldn’t be happy.”
Speaking at the meeting Council leader Jane Scott OBE said: “We risk losing our current staff, but the biggest risk for me is that we can’t recruit new managers. We already have key posts that we can’t recruit to.
“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?”
UKIP Councillor David Pollitt voted against the move, and said: “As Jane Scott said herself on Tuesday; we have to save £120m and it seems odd that they’re giving more money out.
“Lots of people in the private sector have taken pay cuts in the last few years. I just hope they are as amenable when the time comes for lower-level staff to negotiate their pay.”
Council staff are currently subject to a one per cent pay freeze, as dictated by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
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