Wednesday, 10 February 2016

‘Single status’ pay plans blasted

A TEACHING assistant of nearly 30 years has hit out at pay scale plans which will see some school salaries slashed.

A ‘single status’ scheme is set to be rolled out by Cumbria County Council as part of a national equal-pay agreement.

The new pay scale aims to iron out differences in pay and conditions which could lead to equal-pay claims on the grounds of discrimination.

The changes, which will be put in place on September 1, affect 10,009 council workers as well as 6,500 jobs in schools.

And while the scheme sees 68 per cent of workers being given a pay rise, 23 per cent will see their salary fall.

Some teaching assistants and social workers are among those who will be hit by the drop.

One teaching assistant of 28 years has hit out at the plans, saying staff are being kept in the dark about the changes. The South Cumbrian primary school worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “School-based staff were allocated a job profile in December, with it came the right to appeal. We as a group at my school did, and as yet to date we have heard nothing back from Cumbria County Council.

“We are not alone in this, every school-based (member of) staff in Cumbria is in the same boat. We are being ignored.

“Our right to appeal has been purely a paper exercise.

“I should also point out here that we did not know what we were appealing against. We were given no notification what our salary would be.”

She added: “Headteachers have been put in the position where they do not know how to help us.

“They feel that they have not received enough information about it.”

Around 4,000 workers – 40 per cent of the council workforce – have appealed their new job profiles.

But the council expects some will withdraw their appeals if their pay is set to rise.

Any pay cuts will be put back by a year to give staff time to adjust.

The council says the scheme is not about saving cash, as the change will add £8.7m to its £138m annual salary bill.

And if the pay scale changes are not implemented by September 1, the council will be in breach of a national equal-pay agreement.

Have your say

Cumbria County Council twaddle - "The overall aim of single status is to create a fair and transparent pay and grading structure". Now where do I start with that one???
I start by saying that I respect each and every worker, irrespective of their role, but lets look at what CCC think is 'fair'. Apparently it is fair to pay some experienced and highly qualified Social Workers less money than some (by no means all)Social Care Workers, who were employed to deal with the more day to day problems, hence freeing up the social workers' time for more complex cases. It is also apparently fair to pay vastly different salaries to people in the same roles. It is apparently fair for qualified and experienced TA's, who deal with difficult or disabled children, to be paid the same rate as cleaning staff. It is apparently fair to 'dumb down' the job profile of employees so that they can put them on the same grade and pay as people in less responsible and demanding roles.
If, come September, everyone works according to their new job profile the council will be in total disarray, as in some cases they do not reflect in any way the work they do now. Vulnerable people, elderly, young and disabled, will suffer as a result. Don't forget, not only are they forcing TA's to look for alternative employment, they are also slashing the number of people employed in departments such as Children's Services, e.g. support workers etc.
Now let's look at 'transparent' - Staff were sent their new grade and job profile and given approx 2-3 weeks to appeal. Appeals had to be submitted before the pay relating to each grade was revealed - how transparent is that? Staff at the consultation meetings were evasive to say the least. Some of them could not answer our questions, others chose not to. Emailed queries go unanswered - how transparent is that?
The vast majority of people were not interviewed at stage one of the appeal, which suggests their evidence was not even looked at. Nevertheless, they received an email telling them the original decision had been upheld and they must progress to stage two appeal if they were not happy. Employees are not allowed to represent themselves at stage two. I still do not know if anyone has even looked at my submissions - how transparent is that?
After allegedly taking great care to make sure employees were placed in the correct role profile, the single status team later 'magicked up' some new role profiles. Should this admission that the original format was not comprehensive enough not make it null and void? Should they not start again from scratch? Oops - perhaps they would have done had they not left it until the last minute to push this initiative through!
Regardless of your opinions of council staff and their salaries, can anyone say this new pay structure is fair and transparent?

Posted by Withheld on 20 February 2011 at 18:43

There is a rally on Thursday in Carlisle. If you contact Unison they are arranging coaches to get people there if you need transport. Please tell as many people as you can, you never know, CCC may listen, especially if the various medias arrive!

Posted by Feeling very devalued on 20 February 2011 at 13:36

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