THURROCK Council staff are in line for a £1,925 pay rise despite the authority’s struggle with a £469million deficit.
The long awaited National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC) agreement has been confirmed for 2022/23. The pay offer was for a flat rate payment of £1,925. The cost of implementing the pay award is £2.7million which is not budgeted for but the council’s general services committee, which met on Monday, backed an immediate implementation of the pay award despite the council’s recent declaration of bankruptcy.
Given a choice of implementing the award, deferring it until next year and partially implanting it, the committee took the first option and it will go on to be discussed by council.
Leader of the council, Mark Coxshall said: “To defer is just not an option we should be looking into at this point. The staff here are not to blame for the issues we’re in at the moment and should not be penalised in any way.”
John Kent, leader of the Labour Group agreed. He said: “Of the three options we have, deferring isn’t reasonable and a partial implementation I just think opens up so many cans of worms that we really don’t want to go there.
“I think it’s only right we recommend to council the first option, implementing the NJC award in year. I know that creates difficulties but when you are looking at a black hole of £450million unfortunately adding another £3million to it to make sure our workforce, the people that empty the bins and sweep the streets and cut the grass and look after the vulnerable elderly and young don’t get punished as a result of what’s happened. It wasn’t those men and women that caused the bankruptcy of the council and they shouldn’t be made to suffer for it. They’ve been waiting long enough. This should have been implemented months ago so any further hesitation would be wrong.”
The rise will be backdated to April 1, 2022. It does not apply to Thurrock senior managers.
Thurrock staff received a between 2.25 per cent and 2.5 per cent last year while the NJC award was negotiated and finally agreed.