Agenda item

Annual Pay Policy Statement 2022/23


Councillor Duffin presented the report which sought the approval of the Council’s Annual Pay Policy Statement, this Statement included a pay policy for all categories of employees which reflected existing employment terms and conditions.


Councillor J Kent stated the Labour Group would not be voting to endorse the pay policy statement as this had come at a time of crisis when residents were already being hit hard by the increase to the cost of living, fuel prices and the pending increase on national insurance tax and low wage growth. It was not right that Thurrock’s frontline workers were only being offered a 2.5% pay increase. These were the people that looked after Thurrock’s wonderful elderly residents and youngest children, emptied bins, swept streets, cut grass and so much more. Not only was this fundamental unfair other organisation may become more attractive to these people who may be able to offer pay rises to enable workers to pay their bills. There was also the threat of cutting 100s of jobs in the Council which were hanging over many of the Council’s staff and stated there must be risks that the Council may lose very valuable members of staff. Councillor J Kent asked what assessments the portfolio holder had made to the risk of low pay and job insecurity on employee retention rates. Councillor J Kent referred to senior officer pay increases and stated he did not have any problem with any officer receiving a fair annual increase but had a problem with flat rate increases. The Council’s pay policy should be fair that offered all members of the work force the same to help with the cost of living crisis.


Councillor Byrne stated if the Council were to retain the best people we had to give them no reason to leave as if the Council failed to look after staff, they would leave and the Council would be left with a very weak work force. The Council could not afford to carry any bad performers or sickness and questioned whether casual or agency staff would be receiving an increase in salary.


Councillor Worrall echoed the comments made by Councillor J Kent and referred to previous years when members were called not to increase senior officer post salaries and agreed they also had a cost of living increase but stated those senior managers shoulders were a lot broader than someone who would swept our streets or emptied our bins. It was not unreasonable to look again at this as this would not change the budget envelope and unions had not yet agreed to these pay increase so was a bit presumptuous to be discussing. This offer should be looked at again as it was not fair that it was a flat rate and agreed lower paid workers should be paid more.


Councillor Hebb stated there was an element that needed to ensure we had an organisation that could run and operate but was as generous as possible whilst reflecting the current pressures. Around equability and loss of resource migrating out from the Council, the private sector were experiencing the same pressures especially through the Covid pandemic and possibly there were not vacancies available. Councillor Hebb summed up by stating to fund the increase would have meant increasing council tax even further.


Councillor Jefferies echoed Councillor Hebb’s comments and stated there were budget restraints and would be interested to see how Labour voted on the council tax increase later this evening as this increase would hit residents just as hard.


Councillor Coxshall referred to Councillor Worrall comment about looking at this again and keeping within the budget envelope but stated for a substantial pay increase to be given would mean going over that envelope and have a referendum.  That moving the smallest amount of money in regard to the small number of senior officers with the number of employees at lower levels would not give the Council enough to make a substantial change in the envelope. That a fair decision had been made this evening to be equal across all employees of the Council and be treated fairly and the same.


Councillor Gledhill stated to get salaries up to the level of inflation there would have to be an 3% extra which would cost 4.3% extra over and above the 2.99% being proposed this evening on council tax. The pay of the Council was competitive when compared to other local authorities for similar jobs and the council were paying well with Thurrock attracting and keeping employees. Councillor Gledhill stated he would not burden our taxpayer with something above the 2.99% that had been ring-fenced to help those most vulnerable in Thurrock to help support those carers and changes being made in the Council to afford these pay increases.


Councillor Duffin stated the opposition were quick to say no to the recommendations which was disappointing and had not come forward with any new ideas or alternative recommendations or plans, it was just a no.


The majority of Members voted in favour of the recommendation.




That the Annual Pay Policy Statement 2022/23 was endorsed in line with the Council’s obligations under the Localism Act 2011.

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