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Inside Out: Chiefs need a pay rise too

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Hopefully the collective bargaining merry dance between employers and managers will be over following the 2.2% pay increase offer.

I would not put money on it, but suspect most union members will vote to accept it.

I hope we as employers learn from this round of pay discussions – don’t posture in negotiations. Playing political games over pay has hidden costs. Obviously there has been one strike, but the far bigger cost has been the effect on morale, performance, recruitment and retention caused by poor offers in the first place.

Anecdotes on their own don’t win an argument, but I have enough of them to convince me this pay round has been damaging. Pay has cast a shadow at every one of my informal coffee mornings with staff. As people relax, it always comes up, not in terms of pounds, shillings, and pence, but as a measure of how we as employers value our staff.

I also get similar feedback from managers. They say pessimistic expectations about pay increases often surface when trying to recruit staff.

So, hopefully in future we will play a “straight bat” on staff reward. the goal must be to reach a reasonable affordable settlement as soon as possible – unions and employers trusting each other and being grown up.

The first test of whether lessons have been learned will be to give chief executives and chief officers a pay increase. According to Unison, three-quarters of us top nobs are paid according to national agreements. We haven’t had a pay increase since 2009. Inflation has gone up by 17% in that time.

I can write the TaxPayers’ Alliance script for them. They will say we are less worthy than similar top people in the private sector – we are still overpaid. Unison has an interesting comparison between the finance directors at Derbyshire CC (employing 12,000 people) and the Daily Mail family of companies (employing 9,500). One is paid £87,000, the other, £1.2m.

I am an “ordinary” chief executive. I’m not on any influential national committees; I spend my time at the coalface. Although I love my job, if I don’t get a pay increase this year I will be very angry.

FIND OUT MORE or email

The one thing he won’t comment on is his identity…

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