Manual workers given pay increase

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MANUAL workers have accepted an 18p per hour pay increase this year, plus a £225 one off lump sum payment in lieu of an increase for last year.

That was the outcome of a Whitley Council conciliation meeting last week, called as a result of a row between public sector employers and employees over the employers’ zero pay rise offer.

The lump sum covers the period from April 2010 to March this year.

And the 18p per hour increase is for the year beginning April 2011.

The unconsolidated lump sum is non-pensionable, will be taxable and subject to national insurance contributions.

It will be paid pro-rata for part-time employees.

Staff who have been continuously in post between April 2010 and March 2011 should receive their payment in next month’s pay packet.

All other staff will receive the money as soon as possible, preferably no later than January 2012.

Wages will be adjusted to accommodate the 18p per hour pay increase, including payment of arrears, as soon as possible, but preferably no later than February 2012.

The conciliation meeting was called last week after pay negotiations reached a stalemate.

It followed detailed negotiation between the sides over the employees’ pay claim for 2010/11.

Employees did not want to accept a zero per cent pay increase and the matter was referred to the Industrial Relations Officer for conciliation in accordance with the Whitley Council constitution.

As part of that, staff covered by the Council’s Memorandum of Agreement were invited to take part in a ballot.

The ballot deadline was October 31 and the results showed members were standing firm on the issue.

There were 2,504 papers distributed in the post and 1,471 of those were returned.

Just 86 voted in favour of the zero increase from April 1, 2010, while 1,361 voted against it. There were 24 spoilt papers.

Public sector pay has become a thorny issue, with talk of a ‘public sector pay freeze’.

Despite this, the manual workers now join MEA and Post Office staff in the ranks of those who have seen recent increases in their pay packets.

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