The region’s largest employer has announced it is set to seal a local pay deal with union bosses which would see all staff given a £1,925 salary rise from this month.
Announcing the pay award, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for finance, Councillor Gareth Dadd, told a full meeting of the authority it had been recognised staff needed money in their pockets immediately.
The deal, on average equates to a 6.35 per cent pay rise for council staff, with roles such as ranging from town planners and refuse collectors to social workers and engineers.
The deal means those on the lowest wages will receive a 9.42 per cent pay increase and a 5.5 per cent rise for the highest paid.
The meeting heard while the government had made its “final offer”, agreement nationally had not been reached with unions.
However, councillors were told the authority was “close, if not finalised an agreement” with Unison, where the council, which has a workforce of more than 15,000 following local government reorganisation this year, would implement the final offer and would stand by any changes once agreement is reached on a national level.
Coun Dadd said “with a fair wind” the pay rise would be in staff’s pay packets this month.
The deal comes just months after the unitary council announced it was facing a £30m deficit in its first year, due to £18m-worth of deficits inherited from the eight predecessor councils and a projected £12m shortfall due to inflationary pressures such as rising wages.
Coun Dadd said: “The overall cost gives us an additional £1.2m headache…. but nonetheless it’s vital we get this agreement sanctioned because people need that pay increase now, they can’t wait forever, and secondly it will help with our recruitment and retention.
“I know this cannot continue in perpetuity, but I am very pleased – I can see some shrieks of disbelief – that any money that is available is going disproportionately to the bottom end of the pay spine.”
He said some of the terms and conditions agreed between the council and union bosses over the years had only been achieved due to compromise on both sides.
He said: “The relationship we have got, albeit a Conservative administration, has been for some years very positive with the trade unions within North Yorkshire County Council and hopefully, moving forward, within North Yorkshire Council because at the end of the day we recognise the need for a productive happy workforce and we’ll do what we can wth the limited budgets we’ve got to facilitate that.”
Leader of the council’s Lbour group, Councillor Steve Shaw Wright said: “As a democratically elected socialist I really welcome this pay award to staff.”
A Unison spokeswoman was unavailable for comment.