Unions vote in favour of new Salford City Council pay deal

Salford City Council staff have agreed to accept a new pay structure.

Members of the Unison, Unite and GMB unions voted two to one in favour of the deal, which will see the lowest paid workers get a pay increase to a minimum of £7.45 an hour.

The new plan will also see some workers lose money and the highest paid staff have their pay frozen for three years.

Salford mayor Ian Stewart said the vote was a "huge victory for common sense, fairness and the lowest paid workers".

A spokesman said the new pay and grading structure had been "forced" to ensure the council complies with the Equalities Act and was "not part of the council's annual budget making process".

The deal will not affect the pay of the majority of the council's workforce. However, 629 staff earning more than £21,000 will see a reduction in pay.

The council spokesman added that the £500,000 saved through the pay freeze on the highest-paid staff would be used to "make sure none of those staff lose more than 5%".

Mr Stewart said the deal, which would come into effect on 1 April, gave the council "a pay structure which does not discriminate between staff who are doing exactly the same job, for vastly different rates of pay".

"Under the old system, the difference in pay between two staff both doing the same job could have been £4,000. That was clearly both extremely unfair - and potentially in breach of the Equality Act."

He added that the council was "mindful that there are genuine concerns that a minority of staff will lose out".

"I am very sorry for that - we are doing everything we can to cushion that blow," he said.

A spokeswoman for Unison said: "Our members working in Salford have made their views clear in this decisive vote.

"This was the best package available by negotiation, but we take little comfort from the final deal."

She added that councils are being hit with multi-billion pound budget cuts by the coalition, and local government workers are struggling to make ends meet.

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