Pay rises for thousands of council staff in Wolverhampton have been approved despite massive cuts.
The move will put another £7 million onto Wolverhampton City Council’s wage bill for the next year.
It comes as the council is trying to save £60m over five years due to funding cuts and is preparing to axe potentially hundreds of jobs.
The council is introducing the national living wage – a £7.45 an hour minimum rate that is £1.26 an hour higher than the national minimum wage.
It is part of the arrangements to settle an issue called Single Status, a national scheme set up 16 years ago to iron out decades of pay inequality between men and women in councils.
Wolverhampton is the last authority in the Black Country to complete the arrangements.
Under the changes, which were first announced last year, 5,423 staff will get a pay rise from next month and 1,242 staff will see their pay cut from next April.
Introducing the living wage was part of the arrangements to get trade unions to back down from the threat of strike action over plans to scrap time-and-a-half and double-time pay for working unsociable hours, and bonuses for certain staff to use their cars, prompting the threat of strikes from trade unions.
Last night councillors also approved changes to the pay of senior officers which will see the council’s chief executive and three directors lose their £1,989 a year car allowance.
Up to 69 senior managers will lose out on their annual pay rises from 2014 if they fail to meet certain targets. Councillor Paul Sweet, who is in charge of human resources for the ruling
Labour party, said: “Single Status has been on and off the agenda for many years.
“Many councils pushed ahead to implement their arrangements early and can to rue that decision due to inequalities still in their pay model.
“I believe these proposals are good for employees and the city as a whole as many of the staff who work in Wolverhampton live and spend here as well.”
He added that the council had already saved £1 million by axing 11 of the highest earning posts in 2011. But Conservative leader Councillor Neville Patten said he wanted the top executives to take a bigger pay cut than their car allowance.