Cash-strapped council under fire over pay rises

East Dunbartonshire Council headquarters
East Dunbartonshire Council headquarters

Workers whose jobs are under threat at East Dunbartonshire Council have reacted furiously to news that some of the council’s top earners are to get a bumper pay rise.

At a meeting last Wednesday, the council voted through a package which could see chief officers – some already on salaries of between £78,000 and £119,000 – awarded increases rumoured to reach five figures.

Union officials claim up to 800 staff at the council could be made redundant or see their jobs downgraded, facing lower wages and longer hours.

One council worker said: ‘‘The chief officers’ jobs have been re-evaluated and we’ve heard they could be £20,000 better off.

“Meanwhile, us at the bottom of the pile are getting done over. The morale is at rock bottom without them slapping us in the face.

‘‘They are hypocrites. Everybody is raging, it’s disgusting.’’

But East Dunbartonshire Council say the number of senior officers has been dramatically reduced in recent years, and those at the top have taken on extra duties, while voluntarily declining a pay rise since 2008.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “As part of its efficiency savings, the council has reduced the number of chief officers by 56 per cent over the past five years and the pay bill for chief officers has reduced by £750k in that time.

“The significantly reduced number of chief officers currently in place have undertaken a substantial increase in both accountability and duties whilst awaiting the outcome of this job evaluation process and have voluntarily taken no pay rise since 2008.

“This council has agreed to implement the pay recommendations of the independent national adviser, which were developed following an extensive review process.

“The recommended pay levels for our chief officers have been benchmarked across other local authorities and it is essential that we pay them in line with their peers across Scotland.”

She added: “We do understand the timing is difficult but there is a need to finalise this process and take forward the challenging programme of work.”