By JOHN ROBERTSON
Nearly 3,000 SIC workers have been offered pay rises and lump sums of back-pay under the revised single status proposal issued for their agreement.
Letters were sent out over the weekend and the three main unions will ballot members this month. The hope is that the long-delayed process can be wrapped up on 20th May when SIC councillors will be asked to rubber-stamp it.
The far more generous deal on offer now will add £4 million a year to the council’s wage bill plus a one-off £5m in back-pay for the period from 1st December 2007, which was when the last equal pay settlement ran out.
If the deal is implemented the first money to be pumped out will be the back-pay, representing a huge sudden injection of cash into people’s pockets throughout Shetland.
The deal offers a minimum wage in the SIC of £7.53 an hour, rising to £7.84 after one year’s service. It compares favourably with the national minimum wage for a 22-year-old of £5.73. The top earners (not including senior managers) will get up to £25.07 an hour.
There has been some criticism of the presentation of the deal in not making clear that the offer of new pay levels is lumped in with the annual wage rises which were won separately to the single status negotiations.
The biggest beneficiaries of the revised proposal are 90 workers who will see their pay shoot up by 40 per cent. Another 500 people will enjoy rises of 21-40 per cent and 650 will get a rise of 11-20 per cent. Only 70 will have their pay frozen instead of the 1,000 who originally stood to lose out and that number may reduce further yet.
Councillors had a private seminar on the arrangements on Monday. Convener Sandy Cluness said: “I am convinced this offer is a very good basis for a fair settlement of single status. I hope staff will support it, and we can conclude this lengthy process by agreement.”