No pay increase but council staff ‘stoked’
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.