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Council staff still unhappy at pay deal

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
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Council staff still unhappy at pay deal

WORKERS at Dumfries and Galloway Council have been left divided in a row over wages, despite reaching a pay rise agreement with the local authority.

Members of Unison recently voted to accept a deal giving the majority of workers a pay rise of between 3.4 and 4.7 per cent, meaning lowest paid staff will receive an uplift of approximately £1062.

Council leader Elaine Murray last week welcomed the avoidance of strike action and thanked staff, saying: “People have worked extremely hard during the pandemic doing extra hours and jobs they didn’t expect.”

However, Jan Andrews, secretary of the Dumfries branch of Unison, said that many council workers still feel aggrieved that they missed out on a bonus covid payment given to some colleagues in certain departments.

“It divided the workforce,” said Jan. “The council leader Elaine Murray stated last week that council workers didn’t get the £500 payment NHS staff did.

“This is not accurate as some council workers did receive it – and teachers received £400.

“Also, the back payment will not be paid in time for Christmas as stated by the council leader.”

Jan said that workers are scheduled to be awarded the new rate of pay next month and the back payment in February.

She added: “It is disappointing that Unison members had to threaten to go out on strike to get recognition of their worth in this council of a fair pay.

“The staff that I speak to on a daily and weekly basis throughout the region are on their knees due to work-related stress and the lack of staff support.”

Meanwhile, a motion was put forward at this week’s full council meeting by North West Dumfries Councillor David McKie and seconded by Abbey Councillor Rob Davidson, praising council employees for their efforts during the pandemic.

It read: “Given the unprecedented times the council and indeed the entire world have been dealing with since early last year with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the council would like to formally pay tribute to all staff for the tremendous work and commitment they have shown over this period in keeping vital services operating at a time when communities and business have needed them most.

“It is a source of immense pride that council services have adapted in ways we would not have envisaged and as far as possible continued to be delivered during this challenging period which is in no small part due to the resourcefulness and passion of our staff.

“You have been a credit to yourselves, the communities you serve and the council and for that we place on record our gratitude and thanks.”

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