Suffolk

Suffolk council bonus reward for financial 'challenges'

Thousands of council workers in Suffolk are to get a bonus on top of a 1% pay rise as a reward for dealing with recent financial "challenges".

Giving 3,700 staff £250 each will cost Suffolk County Council £850,000 but many are part-timers and will get less.

Conservative council leader Mark Bee said the award marked the end of incremental salary increases for staff.

The Labour opposition was surprised as there had been no discussion of the bonus which had been agreed at cabinet.

Labour leader Sandy Martin said the staff who would benefit most were among the lowest paid in the county and the amount they would receive would not be life changing.

"It would be better to pay them a living wage rather than a one-off bonus.

"The county council had driven down wages for these people."

The council revealed in July it was planning to trim its £1bn budget by £26m last year but has said the actual saving was closer to £30m.

Saving money

A spokesperson said staff, mainly officers and those in administrative and managerial roles, would receive a one-off £250 pro-rata payment depending on the hours they worked.

"The majority of our staff are part time so will not receive the full amount," she said.

"This payment is in recognition of our employees' on going commitment to the authority during what continues to be a challenging time for local government."

Incremental salary increases which boosted income annually if staff achieved objectives or exceeded performance were being abolished.

"Corporate single status staff will also receive a 1% cost of living increase in their salary.

"This is in line with a national agreement between unions and employers."

Mr Bee said: "Making this one-off payment very much marks the end of incremental salary increases which can cost an authority of our size significant sums of money.

"In the long run, the changes we are making to staff pay will save the authority money."

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