Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council members have tonight (Tuesday) agreed to approve the proposal for a “bespoke local pay offer” to its 1,000-plus staff.
The special hybrid meeting of Council was aimed at approving the conciliation agreement brokered by the Labour Relations Agency (LRA), between management and the Joint Trade Unions (JTUS).
A Council spokesperson commented: “Throughout this challenging period of industrial action, elected members, management, and the JTUs have been mindful of the cost of living crisis, therefore, the overall objective was always to find a way of focusing on the lowest paid in the organisation, whilst minimising the impact on the rate payer.”
The agreement reached will see staff on the bottom six pay scales (Scales 1 to 6) of the organisation re-defined and scales adjusted so that the very lowest paid workers will benefit.
In addition, these staff will receive a one-off cost of living payment of £500. The introduction of these new salary scales will align with the Real Living Wage, therefore improving Council’s ability to attract and retain staff to benefit long-term service delivery.
In addition, staff currently on S01 – PO6 will have their pay adjusted and staff above PO6 would not receive any adjustment. All staff receiving salaries ranging from SO1 – PO12 will receive a one-off cost of living payment of £1,100.
In summary, the proposed offer is as follows:
The overall annual cost to Council will be in the region of £1.5m, with an additional £1.2m taken from Council reserves to fund the one-off cost of living payments.
Payments relating to spinal points will be backdated to April 2022.
The council has also agreed to a process to conclude outstanding matters relating to harmonisation and regularisation of historic pay and grading issues resulting from the Review of Public Administration.
As a result of Council’s decision, JTUs and Management will meet in the morning (Wednesday) to discuss suspension of strike action.