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Dumbarton council workers ‘extremely disappointed’ over delay of backdated pay rise

A UNION leader said hundreds of council workers may have to wait until February for their backdated pay rises.

GMB manager for West Dunbartonshire, David Scott, said it was unacceptable for staff to wait so long.

Some employees will have to wait until next month to receive their back pay, which dates back to January 2021, after unions reached a pay deal with COSLA just five weeks ago.

West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) admitted in December it was unable to disburse the money before Christmas, with GMB saying it was forcing the lowest paid council staff to take out payday loans to survive.

But the council said it was impossible to process everyone so quickly after one of the three unions was delayed in accepting the rise.

Mr Scott told the reporter: ‘GMB members are extremely disappointed that the board leadership has not been able to do more to support the team within the board appointed to implement the pay rise. .

“This is a pay rise GMB members have been waiting for since April 2021, the majority of council workers earn significantly less than the head of council and are grappling with the cost of living crisis they are facing confronted.”

The issue was discussed at a full council meeting on December 22 where Labor councilor Martin Rooney tabled the motion calling for more efforts to enforce backdated pay.

But councilors narrowly voted for an amendment from council leader Jonathan McColl who said it would be “extremely difficult” for most councils to pay back before Christmas because of the short deadline and the complexity of calculating the sums.

The board agreed: “It is not fair to raise staff expectations and not communicate accurately local payment deadlines which have been discussed and agreed at national level.

“Our frontline payroll staff have been working extremely hard to get payments to their colleagues as quickly as possible and these are expected to be made in January and the first week of February, depending on the payroll staff to which they belong. .”

Previously, Councilor McColl said: ‘Given the short deadlines, we have been very clear to the unions, and the unions have accepted, that unless things go very quickly there will be no way to pay back before the new Year.

“I know it will be disappointing for staff, but unions cannot be expected to cut corners on an issue as important as this and I fully support them as they continue with their processes to properly represent their members.”

At the time, WDC said: ‘This is a large and complex job which requires the calculation of arrears over two tax years, several percentage increases related to vertebral points, the different percentage increases being applicable for different time periods per individual, and a high degree of accuracy.