Waltham Forest: Council criticised over senior management ‘pay rises’ (1 September 2011)

(The following article appeared in the Waltham Forest Guardian)

A TRADES union has accused the council of planning to give senior officers pay rises while cutting the wages of its lowest paid staff.

The authority has been consulting on proposals this summer to change its workers’ contracts, including axing extra overtime pay, slashing mileage travel allowances and freezing salaries for two years.

The council says changes to pay and conditions are necessary to save £3million and safeguard as many as 100 jobs.

But Unison claims it has learned of plans to raise wages for some senior managers.

Unison said under new proposals, the head of the council’s ‘Residents First’ department is to be paid £88,000 – a £3,000 increase on last year.

It also claims that the authority’s head of Human Resources was hired in December on a salary of £95,000, but is now being paid £106,957.

Under the new proposals this will reduced by £457, but the union says this is being “dressed up” as a cut when the officer has in fact had an increase of £11,957 in six months.

Waltham Forest branch secretary Dave Knight also claims some unnamed senior managers are also being paid “market supplements”, ranging from £166 per month to £833 on top of their regular salaries.

He said: “While our members could lose as much as £7,000 per year, senior management appear to be giving themselves wage increases of thousands of pounds. How can this be fair?

“The council’s proposals are widening the pay gap between the lowest and highest paid.

“These savings will impact disproportionately on the lower paid, front line, female and black workers and will cause much hardship for the council’s lower paid staff.

“At the same time the council has launched a Senior Management Review, which appears to take a very different tack.”

The Guardian is awaiting a response from the council. No changes to pay and conditions of regular or senior staff have yet been approved.

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