20p raise for civil service and MHKs

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CIVIL servants and Tynwald members have been awarded a pay rise that will cost government an extra £837,000 a year – despite the continuing freeze on the public sector salary budget.

All of the island’s 2,300 full and part-time civil servants plus all those whose pay is linked to civil service rates – including MHKs and MLCs – are getting an increase of 20p per hour – working out at an extra £386 a year for a 37-hour week.

The pay rise is backdated to April 1 and takes the basic salary of a Tynwald member to £37,822. The increase was included in the September salary with backpay to be included in this month’s salary.

With no extra money available to fund the increase, departments will have to find extra savings in their budgets.

Yvette Mellor, deputy chief executive of the Department of Social Care, said the pay rise of 20p per hour will cost her department an additional £124,000 per year which for 2012-13 has not been built into budgets.

‘Efficiency savings will have to be made across the department which will delay some of the planned change projects so that frontline services are not impacted,’ she told iomtoday.

Prospect/Government Officers’ Association members voted to accept the 20p per hour pay offer when they were balloted in August.

Jon Callister, chief officer of the Office of Human Resources, said he was pleased that an agreement had been reached with the staff representatives without the need to go to arbitration.

He said that a per-hourly rather than a percentage raise was intended to be more equitable as it would mean a proportionally higher percentage increase for those on lower pay.

The pay rise, which works at an average of 1.08 per cent, is well below the current rate of inflation. Mr Callister said the total cost to the civil service ‘employers’ was £837,000.

A public sector pay freeze was announced in the 2010 Budget.

But last year civil servants and Tynwald members were awarded a 1.2 per cent pay rise.

The year before, civil servants were awarded a 1.5 per cent increase plus a £200 one-off lump sum to those earning under £25,000 per year after the Prospect/Government Officers’ Association took its 2010/11 pay claim to independent arbitration when members rejected the zero per cent pay deal offered by the Civil Service Commission as part of the public sector pay freeze.

On top of their new basic salary of £37,822, Tynwald members get 30 per cent extra for being a department member (40 per cent for Treasury) and 50 per cent for being a minister, the Chief Minister gets 80 per cent on top of his basic and the Speaker 60 pc.

A number of MHKs have declined to take the pay rise, including the Chief Minister Allan Bell, Treasury Minister Eddie Teare and Agriculture Minister Phil Gawne.

Angela Moffatt, of the Prospect/GOA union, said: ‘We have been catagorically told by government no money will be diverted from frontline services to pay for this.

‘Money is going to come from the existing budgets which have not been increased for several years. Jobs have already been lost and members are fully aware of the situation. The members decided and carry out their wishes.’

Civil servants make up about 20 per cent of the public sector workforce.

A report of the Civil Service Commission to be brought to Tynwald next week reveals that 20,641 days were lost through sickness absence by civil servants last year – at a cost of £2,951,603.

Levels of sickness absence, inevitably, are greatest in the Departments of Health and Social Care at 4,841 days (15.7 days per person at a cost of £692,293) and 2,801 days (10.2 days per person at a cost of £400,533) respectively.

There were 1,525 days of sickness lost in the Department of Economic Development (average of 7.8 days per person) at a cost of £218,095. In the Treasury there were 2,391 days of sickness absence (average of 7.4 days per person) at a cost of £341,964.

A second report to Tynwald, a Council of Minister cross-government report, gives absence figures for all public service workers and shows that a total of 92,894 days were lost at a cost of £14,804,334.

The report also shows that 40 per cent of public servants are paid between £25,000 and £50,000. It also reveals that 31 public servants are paid between £100,000 and £124,999.99, 20 are paid between £125,000 and £149,999.99, 19 are paid between £150,000 and £174,999.99, 15 between £175,000 and £199,999.99, six paid between £200,000 and £224,999.99 and one is paid between £225,000 and £249,999.99.

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