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Councillor wage hike: A ‘real brass neck’ says union leader

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The chair of trade union Unite’s all-Ireland executive has slammed wage increases of almost £4,500 for councillors which will take effect in 2015 after the amalgamation 
of local authorities across Northern Ireland.

Derry man Liam Gallagher spoke out after Minister for the Environment Mark Durkan yesterday announced the basic allowance for councillors will rise from its current level of £9,865 per year to £14,200-a increase of £4,365.

In a statement yesterday Minister Durkan said the increase would reflect the increased workload for political representatives after the Review of Public Adminstration cuts the amount of local authorities from 26 down to 11.

“To fairly compensate councillors for their increased roles and responsibilities, and the larger electorates they will represent, a councillor’s basic allowance will be set at £14,200 per annum,” he said.

Mr Durkan said he was also increasing the value of caring allowances available to councillors to encourage those with such responsibilities to
 run for council.

“Travel and subsistence allowances will stay the same and decisions on special responsibility allowance payments for positions of responsibility, such as chairs and mayors, will remain at the discretion of the councils,” he added.

Elections to the 11 new councils will take place on May 22. At that stage they will operate in ‘shadow form’ until taking over from the current councils on April 1 next year.

However the annoucement was greeted with anger by Mr Gallagher who told the Journal: “This is incredible given the fact that this year there will be just a one per cent increase for council workers. It is absolutely scandalous. It shows complete audacity and a
 real brass neck.

“Council workers have had their pay frozen for years and it looks likely they will have to ballot for industrial action to get a pay rise above inflation. Now councillors will be receiving aapproximately a 45 per cent rise-it’s incredulous.

“At the end of the day every public sector worker is subjected to analysis on their performance. It would be interesting to see how this would apply to councillors. Every day we hear of gold-plated pension schemes and bonus payments whilst the ordinary workers are shunted to the side. This just doesn’t stack up against the facts.”

Derry man Liam Gallagher spoke out after Minister for the Environment Mark Durkan yesterday announced the basic allowance for councillors will rise from its current level of £9,865 per year to £14,200-a increase of £4,365.

In a statement yesterday Minister Durkan said the increase would reflect the increased workload for political representatives after the Review of Public Adminstration cuts the amount of local authorities from 26 down to 11.

“To fairly compensate councillors for their increased roles and responsibilities, and the larger electorates they will represent, a councillor’s basic allowance will be set at £14,200 per annum,” he said.

Mr Durkan said he was also increasing the value of caring allowances available to councillors to encourage those with such responsibilities to
 run for council.

“Travel and subsistence allowances will stay the same and decisions on special responsibility allowance payments for positions of responsibility, such as chairs and mayors, will remain at the discretion of the councils,” he added.

Elections to the 11 new councils will take place on May 22. At that stage they will operate in ‘shadow form’ until taking over from the current councils on April 1 next year.

However the annoucement was greeted with anger by Mr Gallagher who told the Journal: “This is incredible given the fact that this year there will be just a one per cent increase for council workers. It is absolutely scandalous. It shows complete audacity and a
 real brass neck.

“Council workers have had their pay frozen for years and it looks likely they will have to ballot for industrial action to get a pay rise above inflation. Now councillors will be receiving aapproximately a 45 per cent rise-it’s incredulous.

“At the end of the day every public sector worker is subjected to analysis on their performance. It would be interesting to see how this would apply to councillors. Every day we hear of gold-plated pension schemes and bonus payments whilst the ordinary workers are shunted to the side. This just doesn’t stack up against the facts.”

 

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