To help address financial pressures and concerns about the rising cost of living, councillors on the council’s Policy & Resources committee last week agreed a programme to support the city’s most vulnerable residents.
Councillors also shared and discussed ways in which the council is supporting its employees, including the discussions with trade unions taking place to increase the salaries of the council’s lowest paid staff.
Following the committee meeting, in a joint email to all council staff, Chief Executive Geoff Raw and Leader of the Council, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty have today (Monday 16 May) shared details of the increased pay offer for the lowest paid staff and said they understood many staff were feeling ‘incredibly anxious’ because of the impact of the rising cost of day to day living.
“Many of you have been sharing your concerns about the rising cost of day to day living. For lots of staff, the cost of living crisis is having a very serious financial impact on the money you have available for everyday essentials. We know many of you are feeling incredibly anxious.
“This is why we want you all to be aware of some important information and decisions about the cost of living which were discussed at a council committee meeting last week and which aim to help those struggling most in the city and support the council’s lowest paid staff.”
Since an agreement in October 2021 to abolish the council’s lowest pay scales (1-2) further discussions and collaborative work has taken place with both GMB and UNISON trade unions to see what more could be done to increase the salaries of the council’s lowest paid staff.
As a result of collaborative and constructive discussions with the trade unions, a formal improved pay proposal was put forward to them last week.
The detail needs to be worked through with trade union colleagues, but one change being made means full time staff currently paid on scale 1-2 will receive a pay increase of at least £1,180 per year. The increase will be pro-rata for those that work part-time.
The overall package of changes being considered will benefit 3,800 staff of which 2,500 are within schools
Once agreement with GMB and UNISON is reached, the council would seek to implement the changes and backdate them to 1 April 2022.
Meetings with both unions to discuss the offer are due to place this week.
Speaking at the council’s Policy & Resources committee last Thursday (12 May), Councillor David Gibson said it was important to focus on what the council can do locally to address the cost of living crisis, and to do as much has possible as swiftly as possible, he said:
“I’m immensely proud that we are looking at improving the pay of those from our own workforce who worked so incredibly hard during the pandemic. It’s really important that we try and narrow the gap between top and bottom pay scales.
“We’re in discussions with the trade unions to do as much as we can afford to do to improve the pay of 3,000 of our lowest paid staff.”
Help for staff and people living in Brighton & Hove
- Parent and carers of a children who receive free school meals, will receive a weekly supermarket voucher worth £15 for each child for May half term and throughout the school summer holidays in 2022. You can apply for free school meals by clicking on this link.
- If you’re facing a crisis and need help, the council can provide welfare advice, discretionary payments and other support. Find out more on our help and support web page.
- You can also call the council’s Community Hub Monday to Friday from 10am to 4.30pm. Phone 01273 293 117 and select option 1.
- Council Tax Reduction (CTR) helps low-income households with their Council Tax. Residents who pay Council Tax are eligible for support if their income and savings are below a certain level. See if you’re eligible for Council Tax Reduction by clicking this link.