Portsmouth City Council continue negotiations over pay freeze

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DISCUSSIONS will reopen today over whether or not council staff will have their pay frozen for the next two years.

Portsmouth City Council officers, councillors and trades union representatives meet this afternoon to negotiate over measures the council hopes will save £2m this year. It plans to impose a two-year pay-freeze on all staff paid more than £21,000 a year.

The plan would affect just over 1,000 employees, according to the latest council estimates, but school staff will not be affected.

But unions believe they have come up with measures which could help save the cash without affecting pay levels.

Unison’s Portsmouth branch secretary Lindsay Williams said: ‘The measures are a halfway house. There will be more redundancies to come, so in effect the council’s saying to staff “take a pay cut, then you may be laid off next year”. Instead, we think we can help encourage more people to take voluntary redundancy by increasing the council’s severance pay rate from one week’s pay per year of service to 2.75 weeks. We also believe changing parking and bailiff services will help raise cash.’

The council had considered wage cuts, but its employment committee, made up of councillors, rejected the suggestion.