The Isle of Wight Council has come under fire from one of its members for not paying its staff enough that they can have “a reasonable quality of life”.
A new pay policy has been approved for staff, as it is every year, amending clauses for the coming financial year, including changes to car parking allowances, severance pay and the new learning system within the council.
Figures in the policy show (in December 2020) the highest-paid staff member of the Isle of Wight Council was £132,358 but the lowest was £18,380 with the average at £27,825. Senior managers can earn over £100,000, according to the framework of pay grades.
During the full council meeting on Wednesday (Jan 20), Cllr Geoff Brodie said it was ‘very illuminating’ that the majority of workers were in the grade four bracket (between £19,184 and £19,698). He said: “Surely it is the duty of the Isle of Wight Council, as a significant employer, to pay a salary to people who work for them, who we all think the world of and have given accolades to during the Covid pandemic, and be doing everything we possibly can to enhance their salaries — make sure people can have a reasonable quality of life and perhaps be able to get some security of tenure in the housing situation.”
Cllr Brodie also questioned whether it was appropriate senior officers’ salaries ‘had increased so much’ under the Conservative administration, when he recalls the chief executive earning less than £100,000 ‘not so long ago’ and argued while that goes up “low paid staff continue to be relatively low paid.”
Cabinet member for corporate resources, Cllr Brian Tyndall, said he thought it was a very fair graph — showing the distribution of council staff over pay grades — and that he had no issues with it. He said: “I would suggest if Cllr Brodie went to any major business, who had the number of employees that this council does, the spread would probably be the same.”
Cllr Tyndall also said the graph did not include part-time employees which ‘may change’ things.