Bridgend council's staff pay freeze plan is reversed

Bridgend council's offices Bridgend council needs to save £36m

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A council has reversed its decision to freeze pay for all but the lowest-paid workers.

Bridgend council would have been the only authority in Wales not to honour national pay agreements.

It said its original plan would have saved £1m and help protect jobs and services.

The union Unison said the move was a "victory for common sense", but also recognised that difficult discussions lay ahead on savings and cuts.

"Since 2010, our members have had a three-year freeze followed by a below inflation settlement in 2013 and in-work poverty and the cost of living crisis is a painful reality for a growing number," said Dominic MacAskill, Unison Wales.

"For these people this decision will come as a small but welcome respite."

The council had considered making its own individual offer of 1% to staff on grades one and two, who are earning less than £14,880, and a pay freeze for everyone else.

The authority needs to save £36m in the next few years, and it currently spends 68% of its £225m budget on wages.

In a statement the council said: "Across Wales, public services continue to face enormous and unprecedented financial pressure.

"Bridgend County Borough Council has to make savings of £36m over the next few years and is urgently looking at alternative methods for achieving this year's savings target."

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