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EMPLOYERS WELCOME PAY COMMISSION REPORT

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Local government employers have welcomed the ...
Local government employers have welcomed the Local Government Pay Commission report- set up in the wake of last year's council workers strike to look at pay and rewards.

The commission found that the value of the total package in local government is as good, if not better than, that of other employers. And the value of the local government pension is three times as valuable as a typical private sector money purchase scheme, while local government pay is seen as keeping up with the economy.

The report says that recruitment and retention difficulties in local government at the lower end of the pay range are by no means universal and that there is currently no compelling case for a general rise in minimum pay. Equal pay rather than low pay should be the focus in a sector where large numbers of women work, according to the document.

There should be more investment in training and development - especially for those working on, and directly managing, front line council services. Training and development should be also brought into the scope of the National Joint Council. Equalities expertise should be available to a streamlined NJC and consideration should be given to appointing an independent chair and establishing an executive for the body.

There was a welcome from the commission for the employers' national skills framework and national graduate development programme, as well as for the use of modern apprenticeships. And councils should introduce local workforce development programmes in order to grow and nurture their own talent.

Charles Nolda, executive director of the Employers' Organisation for Local Government, said: 'This report puts human resources professionals and 'people management' centre stage in ensuring councils have well-motivated and fairly rewarded staff.

'The Employers' Organisation will be throwing its weight behind local councils in managing, training and develop ing their biggest resource and asset to improve services and to recruit and retain the best.

'The focus on equal pay is a key area for collaboration between the employers and the unions. It is also challenging but it is necessary to do everything that we can to try to close the gender pay gap.

'The commission has covered a huge amount of ground in a short period in a very complex and inevitably contentious field. Its members are to be thanked and congratulated for the comprehensiveness of their analysis of the issues.

'It is now up to the two sides of the NJC to ensure that the opportunity provided by the report to make real progress is not lost.'

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