Councillor Huelin, Portfolio Holder for Central Services and Communities, presented the report which sought the approval of the Council’s Annual Pay Policy Statement. That Thurrock’s statement included a pay policy for all categories of employees which reflected the existing employment terms and conditions.
An amendment to recommendation 1.2 had been received from Councillor J Kent and seconded by Councillor Kerin, read:
In line with the Chancellor’s statement apply an increase of £250 to each pay point up to and including pay point 17 (top of band C).
Councillor J Kent stated he moved his amendment that removed the words “subject to reaching agreement with the Trade Unions on phase 2 of the pay review”from the substantive recommendation and saw this as a matter of fairness with the Council’s lowest paid workers deserving a pay rise now. That to link to the outcome of phase 2 of the pay review was not fair and was a threat to the lower paid workers. Some speculation had been seen from the impact of this pay review and Unite Trade Union had stated the documents shared with them had suggested front line workers could lose the equivalent to £3,500 a year and care workers could lose up to £8,000 a year. Councillor J Kent stated he had requested to see these documents but nothing had been shared with him. Councillor J Kent asked Councillor Huelin to explain how the £800,000 of reductions of allowances had been made up and which outdated allowances would go to make up the £800,000. Councillor J Kent also questioned how the portfolio holder could justify the £5.00 a week pay rise to lower paid workers but at the same time allowing an increase in the number of officers earning over £100,000 to rise from five in 2017/18 to 18 today and at the same time the increase in officers earning over £50,000 had risen from 119 to 176. Councillor J Kent concluded by stating this was an issue of fairness.
Councillor Byrne echoed Councillor J Kent’s comments and referred to the £250 flat rate and stated he had not known of any worker who would be happy to have their differentials eroded.
Councillor Allen also echoed Councillor J Kent’s comments and how the lower paid staff thoroughly deserved a pay rise and it was the lower paid staff salaries that should be addressed before the higher paid members of staff.
Councillor Halden stated the paper tabled this evening had stated they wished to pay lower paid workers more and there was no reason why an amicable agreement could not be reasonably made with the Trade Unions.
Councillor Muldowney stated her support for Councillor J Kent’s amendment and stated if Councillor Halden was confident that the unions would reach an agreement there was no reason to tie up the £250 increase with the Union agreement and stated this should just be done and not subject to any conditions. These were the people who had worked on the front line during COVID who should be given this pay rise.
Councillor Jefferies stated his confusion as to why the Labour Group would not be supporting the pay rise for lower paid workers and how confusing it was that the Labour Group were questioning whether the unions would actually agree to this pay rise for low paid workers. Councillor Jefferies stated his support to the papers as he wanted to see lower paid workers earn more money and urged Trade Unions to agree so that lower paid workers could be paid more money.
Councillor Kerin stated the Labour Group were saying that no conditions should be put on this pay rise as the lowest paid workers had been the heroes throughout the COVID pandemic. Councillor Kerin stated the only confusion was why conditions were being put on the lowest paid workers and the conditions had not been put on increases to those workers earning over £100,000 and £50,000 a year. Councillor Kerin stated he seconded Councillor J Kent’s amendment and urged all elected Members to do the same.
Councillor Huelin reiterated what Members were commenting on was on the pay review which was completely separate to the pay policy which was under her portfolio and this would be governed by the General Services Committee of which the Labour, Thurrock Independents and Independent Members had all agreed to. Councillor Huelin referred to the collective agreement which had been signed by the Unions and gone past all Groups at the General Services Committee. The £800,000 additional investment in the employee budget came within that agreement and had been signed by everybody that it would be repaid from the employee budget. Councillor Huelin referred to Councillor J Kent question on allowances and stated that Human Resources were looking at those employees who would likely to be affected and something could be done with the allowances to ensure they mitigate any lose. This was still ongoing and no proposals had been put to the General Services Committee or the Union.
The Mayor called a vote on the amended recommendation 1.2 to which 25 Members voted against, 17 Members voted for and with no Members abstaining. The Mayor called a vote on the substantial recommendation to which the majority of Members voted in favour.
1. The Annual Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 was agreed in line with the Council’s obligations under the Localism Act 2011, the Collective Agreement, the recommendations by the independent market assessment and the output of the pay review project (as agreed by General Services Committee on 8 October 2018).
2. In line with the Chancellor’s statement apply an increase of £250 to each pay point up to and including pay point 17 (top of band C), subject to reaching agreement with the Trade Unions on phase 2 of the pay review.