GMB union welcomes £250 Wigan Council pay rise


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The Independent Online

Union leaders have welcomed a council decision to give a £250 wage rise to some of its workers, saying it breaks a national pay freeze policy.

Labour-controlled Wigan Council said the increase, for staff earning £21,000 a year or less, would offset the fact that they had not received a rise for three years.

The £250 increase was proposed by Chancellor George Osborne in his 2010 Budget, but unions said it had not been paid by all councils.

Wigan Council chief executive Donna Hall said: "The council is facing significant pressure on its budgets and we are faced with making cuts in order to protect front-line services.

"However, we appreciate the effects that the continued national pay freeze will have on our lowest paid members of staff and we want to support them through these difficult economic times. As a result the council has followed the Chancellor's recommendations and we will be making this payment.

"Wigan is an excellent council and we have the hard-work and professionalism of all our staff to thank for this. This is set against a backdrop of a time of considerable uncertainty and significant change, which makes the great work being completed even more exceptional. We are looking at ways we can recognise and reward this great work as we move forward."

Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB, said: "Wigan Council is to be congratulated for having the decency and foresight to have budgeted for this pay rise despite the imposed cutbacks they are facing.

"The council has rightly recognised that they need to keep their staff motivated to deliver ever improving services to the people of Wigan and I'm sure the staff will respond. I would strongly encourage other councils to follow Wigan's example."