Union says public sector staff ‘paying price for austerity’ as agreement reached on pay increase

Pathfinder House, Huntingdonshire District Council.

Pathfinder House, Huntingdonshire District Council. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdonshire District Council has announced a staff pay award for 2015/16 of 1 per cent, though this will not include heads of service and directors.

The pay award will be backdated to April 2015 and was agreed after discussions with managing director Jo Lancaster, the staff representative group and the newly appointed district council cabinet.

Executive councillor for organisational change and development Stephen Cawley said: “Deciding on a pay award has been a balancing act between wishing to reward staff, some of whom have undergone a number of years with minimal or no cost-of-living rise, while being mindful of the need, in times of significant budget reductions, to spend taxpayers’ money in ways that deliver and protect services.

Eastern regional organiser for Unison, Phil Gooden said: “It is fairly consistent with the national outcome and consistent with what George Osborne said in the budget regarding public sector pay.

“However, public staff – at a national and local level – are continuing to pay the price for the government’s austerity measures. At a time when staff need to be exceptionally motivated, circumstances demand that they should be exceptionally well rewarded.”

The recent budget also confirmed that there will be no further changes to funding levels for local authorities in the current financial year.

Executive leader of the district council, Councillor Jason Ablewhite said: “I am satisfied that the provision made last year for a pay award in the 2015/16 budget is affordable and can be met while meeting the other challenges the council faces in service delivery.”

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Mr Gooden from Unison added: “The public sector is paying the price as the government supposedly seeks to balance the books.”