This report presents Members with an update on the progress of the pay negotiations for the financial year 2023/2024.
Members considered a report which set out progress on the pay negotiations for the financial year 2023/2024. A chart setting out the proposed pay scales for 2023/2024 (Appendix 5) was tabled at the meeting.
The Chief Organisational Culture Officer advised Members of the process thus far, detailing the joint trade unions’ pay claim for 2023/2024, an analysis of the pay claim and the Council’s pay offer, as set out in the report. She stated that there had been no pay award in 2021 (due to the pandemic). In 2022, the pay award consisted of a 1.6% general cost of living increase, and a 0.4% MedPay increase. For 2023/2024, an initial assumption in the draft budget of 5% had been made. She referred to the Council’s pay proposal offer which consisted of a £1,000 (pro-rata) base increase for all staff with a £500 gap between range 2 – range 4, in recognition of the discussions held between the Council and the trade unions with particular regards to staff on the lower pay ranges and the real living wage. She advised the Committee that the Council’s pay offer was made in the context of the Council’s current financial pressures.
She also referred to the further information requested at the last meeting which was set out in the report.
Members then raised a number of questions and comments, some of which referred to matters discussed at the Joint Consultative Committee held immediately before this meeting, which included:
Pressure on budgets – concern was expressed that there should not be pressure on the overall budget available for the pay award as a consequence of dealing with the specific issues around children’s social workers which had cost £700,000.
Sleep in payments - concern was expressed that the trade unions’ claim for sleep in payments to increase from £45 to £50 was not being met, particularly when £130 was being paid to agency staff to cover these sleep ins.
Annual leave – it was commented that any options around the buying and selling of annual leave would require staff to have the appropriate amount of annual leave to start with.
Range 1 and range 2 – in response to some queries in relation to the range 1 and range 2 salary bands and the proposed pay rise, the Chief Organisational Culture Officer explained that the range 1 salary band had effectively been removed as a consequence of increases in the national living wage although there were still a small number of staff on range 1. However, some re-evaluation work was required because range 1 roles would not necessarily be classified as range 2 roles.
MedPay review – in response to a question relating to the review of the pay structure including the objectives and timeline, the Chief Organisational Culture Officer explained the basis to the MedPay review, which related to the creation of career progression. Each pay range would include 3 bands (developing, practised, and accomplished). She referred to market premia which had been applied for some vacancies but this could not be considered as a back stop and that the MedPay review needed to address this issue. She referred to the first 10% of the organisation which was being reviewed, this included for example, Legal Services. 60% of the organisation would be reviewed in year two and the remainder of the organisation in year 3. In response to a question regarding whether there was a plan in place if the organisation was losing staff quickly, the Chief Organisational Culture Officer explained that the MedPay review would be accelerated subject to resources.
Joint Consultative Committee – it was commented that during the discussions at the Joint Consultative Committee held immediately before this meeting, the trade unions had referred to the negotiations with the Council which had started earlier, as well as the focus on lower paid staff and the creating of gaps between ranges 2-4, albeit the trade unions’ claims had not been fully met.
The recommendations set out in paragraphs 13.1 and 13.2 of the report were proposed and supported.
In accordance with Rule 12.4 of the Council Rules, a recorded vote on this proposal was taken.
For – Councillors Carr, Fearn, Thorne and Rupert Turpin
Against – Councillors Mahil, Prenter and Van Dyke
a) The Committee agreed to recommend that full Council agree the following pay award for 2023/34:
(i) a general cost of living increase of £1000 (pro-rata) for all staff and, in addition,
(ii) the creation of a gap in pay ranges 1-4 through the introduction of a £500 gap, as detailed in paragraphs 7.6-7.8 of the report.
b) The Committee agreed to recommend that Full Council delegate to the Chief Executive the authority to agree the competency-based awards for staff assessed under MedPay at Levels 1A and 1B.