So here I am sitting here after having done three pre-recorded radio and TV interviews about the strikes set for the next two days, and an afternoon with more media queries and interviews to deal with. That is alongside having to scratch my brow – along with many other senior colleagues – on how to deal with the very harsh and firm line being taken by Unison about exemptions for the strike. ‘Yet another day in the life of a Director responsible for HR’, I hear you say.
PPMA are keen that a positive conclusion is reached to this year’s local government pay negotiation – not least because it holds the prospect of a three year deal – which will give our members some stability – as well as the long overdue delivery of reviewing and reforming the core employment terms and conditions. It’s heartening to be involved in so many conversations with colleagues which, whilst sometimes slightly cynical about quite how far-reaching this reform will turn out to be, are all fully supportive of the need to modernise and reform the employment and reward framework across the sector.
Total Reward and Contribution Based Pay are fast becoming more than just concepts offered up at conferences, given the amount of Authorities making firm and steady progress in these areas. The demands and expectations that people have of local government services – quite rightly – are rising, so we do need to modernise and reform to be able to meet that expectation. Linked to this, the concept of ‘The Public Sector Worker’ is becoming a reality in terms of how we need to work, given the amount of integration and collaboration across public sector organisations that is taking place – so we do need refreshed reward and employment frameworks to be able to deliver the goods here.
So, looking forward, it’s good that we’re in firm discussions with the Trade Unions about reward. It’s good that their members are expressing their views. We recognise that the offer is not generous, and that the credit crunch and general economic climate is bringing with it a rising cost of living. But as with many employers, local government are looking at how to deal with that alongside sustaining services, rather than moving into job losses or increasing council tax rises. Let’s keep moving forward, and get into the modernisation agenda on the back of this – so that, simply put, we can deliver better, sustainable services to the public. PPMA will continue to represent its members views nationally as a positive part of making progress.
Jim Savege – Lead Officer, Pay and Reward