Delaying pay cut to council staff in Huntingdon would cost £700,000

11:00 08 March 2014

The deadline has passed for staff to appeal following the HDC pay review.

The deadline has passed for staff to appeal following the HDC pay review.

Archant

Efforts to offer greater protection for staff salaries following Huntingdonshire District Council’s pay review failed to win the ­necessary support.

At an HDC full council meeting last Wednesday, Lib Dem councillors proposed that wages of those facing the biggest cuts could retain their current pay for at least 12 months.

Under the new arrangements, nearly 300 members of staff have been told that their wages are to be cut from April 1 – some losing ­thousands of pounds a year.

They could chose to protect their pay in full for three months or be paid their new salary plus half the difference for six months.

Councillor Ste Greenall, who seconded Cllr Mike Shellens’ motion, said: “We wanted a longer period of consideration for people affected by big cuts in their pay by utilising the special reserve, which is for this very thing.

“It’s absolutely no fault of the people whose pay is being reduced that they happened to be on a pay scheme that rewarded long service.

“It does not make sense to have a system like that and it does need changing but, in saying that, you don’t just change it and penalise those who have benefited.”

While the idea received support from members of UKIP, it was not backed by Tory councillors, who voted against the motion.

Executive leader, Tory Cllr Jason Ablewhite, said the cost of the Lib Dem proposal meant it could not happen. “It would have taken another £720,000 of taxpayers’ money to implement so the answer was always going to be no.”

He said that offering further protection could have left the council open to challenges under the Equality Act, which says contract terms must be equal regardless of gender.

Meanwhile, HDC continues to be tight-lipped about the number of employees who have appealed against their pay offers.

A spokesman said: “We are currently processing the appeals, and notifying staff of their appeal dates.

“Some appeals have started this week.

“This process is an internal management issue, and is very personal to each member of staff who has appealed, and will be dealt with accordingly.

“It would be inappropriate and insensitive to release further ­information relating to this process at this time.”

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