Top managers’ pay should be reduced by 20 per cent in the face of massive cuts at East Sussex County Council, a trade union has suggested.
The council is looking to save between £70m and £90m over the next three years and is currently consulting on proposals to cut £40m from its adult social care budget by 2019.
The General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union (GMB) is due to attend a business planning meeting with the authority tomorrow (Thursday November 19) and has been assessing the impact of proposed cuts to services.
According to the union, cutting top managers’ pay by 20 per cent could save the county council £681,000 and would be a way of keeping ‘its own house in order before the axe falls’.
Rachel Verdin, GMB regional officer, said: “Members are staggered by the depth and breadth of services set to face massive reductions or complete obliteration.
“While the anti-austerity argument is clearly lost against the council GMB is calling on them to wake up to the huge disparity in pay levels from those at the top to those at the bottom.
“This imbalance is even starker when considered alongside some of the cuts currently being planned.”
But an East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We welcome all suggestions and feedback on the budget proposals and would stress that no decision has been made, the consultation is still open and a final decision will be taken by a vote of the full council next year.
“Our policy is to pay all of our staff – including senior managers – salaries which are in line with the average pay grade for those doing similar jobs in the public sector in the south east.
“Senior managers are responsible for more than 15,000 staff and a gross annual budget of £783 million, delivering vital services to the people of East Sussex. We need to be able to attract the best candidates with the expertise and experience to do the job well.
“We have faced, and continue to face, significant funding cuts and to help us make the required savings, in recent years we have reduced the number of senior managers at the council by a quarter.”
Ms Verdin said that the six corporate management team posts, including the chief executive, earn £900,000 a year, and with other costs such as national insurance and pension contributions factored in, the figure is nearer £1m.
She added: “As the council has to make at least 20 per cent cuts for the next three years if this was mirrored by corporate management team in year one and remained at that level over years two and three then the total basic salary saving would be around £524,000 and with on-costs (national insurance, pension contributions, etc.) another £681,000 in the council coffers.”
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