Birmingham & Black Country

New Walsall Council pay plans announced

Plans for a new system for grading and paying thousands of workers at a West Midlands council have been announced.

Walsall Council said it calculated more than 70% of people would gain in income or stay the same, equating to 5,196 of its 7,307 staff being assessed.

Councillors were being asked to approve the new system, the authority said.

Unison said nearly 20% of staff, the vast majority members of the union, would now have a "substantial" pay reduction.

'Prevent discrimination'

"Painstaking care" had been taken to build fairness into the new structure, which would be put to full council on 11 July, the authority said.

It added the council has had to review how it pays employees "to comply with a national Single Status agreement to prevent discrimination and remove historic discrepancies between different groups of workers".

More than 1,500 distinct jobs have been evaluated, it said.

Councillor Chris Towe, cabinet member for finance and personnel, said: "I am disappointed that we haven't been able to come to a final agreement with trades unions on what I believe is a much fairer pay structure.

"[But] we did agree on many areas covered by the new system.

"We cannot continue indefinitely with our current outdated and outmoded pay structure and so we are asking council to approve the new system so we can implement before the end of the year."

He added one of its objectives in setting the new structure was to minimise the number of people losing out.

'Extremely disappointed'

Unison said it was "in no doubt that we will see the same scenes of strike action as we did in Birmingham earlier this year".

The union was "extremely disappointed" the council had decided to impose this model on its members, it added.

Unison said it "has put forward a number of propositions in the past which the council has refused on cost grounds".

Under the proposals all employees will be put into one of 16 pay grades that reflect the level of skills required.

It covers all council employees except teachers, youth workers, craft workers and chief officers. Schools support staff at community and voluntary controlled schools are also included.

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