Northants council boss says performance pay will return despite last year’s fiasco

Paul Blantern.

Paul Blantern.

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Performance-related pay WILL return At Northamptonshire County Council next year - despite a debacle that saw hundreds miss out on a £600 Christmas pay-rise in 2016.

In November wage increments worth a total of about £1 million were withheld by council bosses when its staff performed better than expected.

After working hard in 2015 / 2016, 61 per cent of council employees hit challenging performance targets and were told they would be entitled to a £600 pay-rise.

But as the authority only forecast 25 per cent would reach the mark no-one received the rise, just weeks before Christmas.

Chief executive Paul Blantern said redundancies would have had to be made in order to honour the year-on-year pay-rise “in a time of austerity”.

Some told the Chron they were in uproar at the move - but Mr Blantern has confirmed performance-related pay will return in the 2016/17 year.

He said: “What we have said is we will pay it (performance pay) but not as we did last year.

“We accept this year it didn’t work properly and I take responsibility for that totally.

Mr Blantern said any performance pay scheme would have to be capped so only the top 25 per cent of staff received an uplift.

There had been hope Unison and the council could scratch out a compensation deal for the 2015/16.

The council offered the high-performing staff two days leave to compensate for not getting their £600 rise.

But papers for today’s full council meeting show Unison and the council have not reached an agreement.

Penny Smith, Unison branch secretary, said she could not speak about the discussions at this stage.

But she did say last year’s pay debacle left many staff feeling “betrayed.”

She said: “A lot of our lower paid staff thought that money would take care of Christmas.

“People had worked really hard for that.”

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