15th April 01:55
Pay them more money, they'll work harder
Executive defends 16.5% rise for civil servants
THE Scottish Executive was forced last night to defend an inflation-
busting civil servants’ pay rise of up to 16.5 per cent over the next two
years after the deal was criticised by politicians and business leaders.
A spokeswoman stressed that increases will average 3.25 per cent this
year and 4 per cent next year for the staff of the Executive and its
However, she confirmed that the minimum salary for certain grades at
entry level will rise by 16.5 per cent - more than five times the current
rate of inflation.
Critics of the increases, coming at a time when pay rises for other
public sector workers have been restricted, claimed some of the £3
million increase in the Executive’s £93 million wage bill could have been
spent on other public services.
The increases were agreed earlier this month after weeks of talks between
the Executive and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).
The Executive said the pay increases were necessary because of
recruitment problems and reflected the current market rates.
Allan Hogarth, head of public affairs for the CBI in Scotland, said the
Executive would need to explain the reasons for such large increases and
show what benefits these would bring to the hard-pressed Scottish
The Executive also had to be aware of the climate in which many other
employees were having to tighten their belts and accept far more modest
pay increases particularly when inflation was thankfully at such a low
level, Mr Hogarth said.
The Scottish Conservatives said the increases had to be viewed against
private companies having to tighten their belts.
Brian Monteith, the finance and public services spokesman, said
businesses were reeling from high business rates and soaring water rates
and were having to operate during a period when the economy was on the
brink of recession.
He claimed Scotland was in danger of living beyond its means. "Employees
in other parts of the public and private sector will look on this with
envy at this inflation-busing deal. I only hope Labour is not creating a
winter of discontent."
Fergus Ewing, the Scottish National Party’s finance spokesman, said the
pay increases at the lower end of the scale were warranted because they
would help to reduce the ever-widening financial gap between the top and
"The focus of pay increases should be at the lower end of the scale where
it is warranted so that the majority of staff could benefit."
Unison said the Executive and other public sector employers must
recognise the recruitment crisis in other areas such as nursing and
The union’s Scottish secretary, Matt Smith, said: "Recruitment has been a
major problem across the public sector for years.
"The NHS, schools and nurseries, for example, find it extremely difficult
to attract and keep staff under current low wages.
"The Scottish Executive and other public sector employers, like COSLA
[the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities] should now act to give all
public sector workers fair pay."
The Executive spokeswoman said civil service pay was performance related
and staff had to meet the challenge of corporate business and personnel
objectives before any pay award could be earned.
"The performance-related pay system is rigorous and closely monitored to
ensure fairness and the amount individuals will receive depends on their
present grade and the level of their performance. There is no pay award
for those who do not perform and we are fully committed to modernisation
and this is covered in our corporate objectives.
"The agreed pay deal over two years will mean an average increase of 3.25
per cent in year one and 4 per cent in year two."
The spokeswoman acknowledged that some pay grades would increase from
£14,603 to £17,000 - an increase of 16.5 per cent.
The disproportionate rise for that pay group reflected the recruitment
pressures the Executive had been under, the spokeswoman said.
She added that this was usually the entry grade for graduates.