AROUND 14,000 Kirklees Council employees are in for a pre-Christmas pay boost.
Council chiefs have revealed they will make an advance payment on the local government national pay award, which is unlikely to be resolved until the New Year.
Clr Andrew Palfreeman, the council’s Cabinet member for Finance and Governance, said: “The pay negotiations are carried out nationally and remain unresolved. The final settlement will be backdated to April this year.
“The unions have rejected a 2.45% offer and the issue will now go through arbitration processes in the New Year.
“While no-one wants to pre-judge the outcome of arbitration, it is almost certain that the final settlement will be for at least 2.45%.
“Given the current financial climate, increasing costs and bills that everyone is facing – particularly in the run-up to Christmas – we felt that employees should not have to wait until the final settlement and should have some of the back-pay they will eventually get earlier than next February or March.
“Therefore, the 2.45% element – backdated to 1 April – will be in everyone’s pay packets before Christmas and then further adjustments made depending on the eventual outcome of the final settlement.”
The news of the early payment of the award will be detailed in a letter to all employees updating them on the current position of the job evaluation and review that the council has carried out as part of the ‘single status’ exercise over the last three years.
Single status is a national agreement aimed at removing unfairness in the pay and conditions of local government employees. It is planned to be introduced in Kirklees in May next year and will mean all employees covered by single status will be treated in the same way – regardless of their role within the council, the service they work for or the number of hours they work.
It includes new terms and conditions which employees will sign up for under new contracts of employment across the council.
Clr Palfreeman added: “There are more than 2,500 employees awaiting a pay increase backdated to 2007 and others yet to receive annual increments owing to them. There are a number of outstanding issues still to be agreed with the unions, but the council is anxious that employees should receive money owing to them.
“From mid-November, new contracts of employment and terms and conditions will be sent to everyone affected by single status.
“Those due a pay increase because of single status will receive the vast majority of the back pay before Christmas if they sign and return their new contract before November 28.
“Employees who are awaiting appeals, whose jobs are to be redesigned or who are subject to reviews within their service will stay on their current pay until this has been completed.
“Consultation meetings for staff will be held across the council over the coming weeks.
“In general, the new terms and conditions provide a more fair, modern and flexible approach for all employees, and in many respects are better than those they will be replacing.”