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Staffordshire ICT workers face pay cuts

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One in four ICT school support workers in the Staffordshire area are expecting pay cuts.

Envelopes containing details of the proposed pay scale were dished out last Friday to 28,000 county council school workers in the region.

The source, an ICT technician who wishes to remain anonymous, told El Reg in an email: "Thought you may be interested in this. Today [10/11/2006] , many council workers across Staffordshire received their envelopes informing them of the proposed pay scale they would now be on, after four years of going through interviews, appeals, more interviews etc.

"And, for our IT staff, it's a joke."

He goes on to explain that his wage remained frozen at around £15,000 for the last four years. While the management team he works with has already seen their pay packets dramatically reduced, in one instance by £8,000.

According to the source, an evaluation took place which required workers to make "specific statements" about their job role.

"[If the proposals go ahead] We're pay-protected for three years (100 per cent the first year, then 90 per cent, then 80 per cent), but most people are already on the internet looking for jobs. So expect most areas of school support – IT especially – to drop through the floor...it's an utter joke," he said.

However, a Staffordshire county council spokesperson said "nothing is set in stone" and that the consultation process is ongoing with the outcome expected to be determined next January.

When asked about the level of anxiety currently being expressed by ICT school workers in Staffordshire, the spokesperson explained that the proposals are part of a much larger country-wide government initiative.

But he also accepted that it is "a really sensitive issue" for individuals right now.

He also conceded that up to 7,000 workers could expect a reduced pay packet in the Staffordshire area but stressed the importance of consultation with employees and the unions.

In an official statement the council said: "This is the starting point and everything is still yet to be negotiated and very subject to change, based on what our employees and the unions communicate to us during this consultation period. This is far from a done deal.

"There are 70 per cent of employees either going up in salary or remaining as they are, and we want to ensure that the 25 per cent of employees not in this bracket know that we will work with them and communicate comprehensively."

Unison, which represents Staffordshire county council workers, has sent letters to its members outlining concerns about the job evaluation scheme. ®

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