No pay in­crease but coun­cil staff ‘stoked’

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

A plan to scrap wage rises for Auck­land City Coun­cil staff this year is ruf­fling po­lit­i­cal feathers, but those af­fected are just pleased to be em­ployed.

“We’re okay with it, to be hon­est,” says one staff mem­ber, who did not want to be named.

“Every­one un­der­stands why it is needed. There’s no ma­jor com­plaints or any­thing. I guess peo­ple are just stoked that we have jobs.”

Chief ex­ec­u­tive David Rankin told the coun­cil’s com­bined com­mit­tees meet­ing last week that the bud­get for staff wage and salary in­creases was re­moved to keep the av­er­age rates rise to 2 per­cent.

He said the de­ci­sion was made by the ex­ec­u­tive team in re­gards to “be­ing re­spect­ful of the coun­cil’s need to re­duce the rates in­crease”.

Some staff may still get rises if the coun­cil can make sav­ings else­where.

“I’m aware there will be some un­hap­pi­ness among staff at the de­ci­sion. There is also a de­gree of re­al­ism.

“Un­prece­dented things are go­ing on in the econ­omy, we can’t just carry on as though ev­ery­thing is the same,” said Mr Rankin.

The rates rise will be be­low the coun­cil’s rate of inflation, which is 2.5 per­cent.

Last Novem­ber, an av­er­age rates in­crease of 5 per­cent was planned but the world­wide eco­nomic re­ces­sion has low­ered the coun­cil’s rate of inflation.

Coun­cil­lor Denise Roche ex­pressed con­cern that re­mov­ing the wage in­creases was a “false econ­omy” if skilled staff de­cided to seek other jobs and the coun­cil had to rely more on con­sult- ants and tem­po­rary staff.

Coun­cil­lor Cathy Casey was also un­happy about the de­ci­sion.

“The coun­cil has no right to pe­nalise the staff of this or­gan­i­sa­tion to keep rates down.”

The royal com­mis­sion’s re­port on gov­er­nance is due on March 31 and may cre­ate un­cer­tainty for coun­cil staff if a new su­per city for Auck­land is an­nounced.

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