Wirral Council previously agreed back in March of this year (2012) (when it decided the Budget for 2012/2013) to pay all its employees earning less than £21,000 (which comes to over 2,000 employees) an extra £250 (net of National Insurance, Income Tax, pension contribution etc) in December 2012.
It was put thus in the budget and £600,000 was put aside for it. I quote from this document (which is the agreed Budget for 2012/2013, as agreed by Conservative and Lib Dem councillors (36)), but not the 29 Labour councillors.
“Our staff are those who are best placed to point out where we are failing and to tell us how we can improve the services that we will deliver. We are therefore investing to ensure we listen and properly engage with them in the future:”
“We recognise the importance of leading by example as an employer and we will again make provision for a payment of £250 for our lower paid workers – those earning under a full time equivalent of £21, 000.
Now go forward to now and there’s a proposal to the December Council meeting not to pay this £250 to 2,470 employees earning less than £21,000. The linked document goes into the detail and shows it affects a higher proportion of their female employees (calling this an “unintentional disadvantage”), a higher percentage of black and ethnic minority employees, a higher percentage of non-Christian employees, a higher percentage of transgender employees and a higher percentage of its young (under 30) employees.
So what have they done to mitigate the impact of this? They state they’ve written to the 2,470 employees that would be affected by this and they’ve discussed it in meetings with the trade unions.
As to the reasons why it’s being done, as the music hall song chorus goes:-
“It’s the same the whole world over,
It’s the poor what gets the blame,
It’s the rich what gets the pleasure,
Isn’t it a blooming shame?”
However if last March is a guide, then the Labour councillors will vote for this proposal and the Conservative/Lib Dem councillors will vote against. Labour have seven more councillors (plus Cllr McLaughlin can now vote as she’s no longer the Mayor). Conservative and Lib Dems have seven less. So whatever Labour decide will happen… and they tend to go by what the senior officers of the Council tell them to do.
This proposal (if it goes through which seems likely) just makes a small dent in the currently projected £13.2 million overspend. Quite what awaits the staff in the New Year is probably a much reduced workforce…. as to who is for the chop we’ll just have to wait and see.