A Tough Year Ahead for Council Employees?

Budget cuts, pay freezes and rising inflation may make 2010 a difficult year to be a council worker.

Councils around the country are shedding workers and making cutbacks. The government has announced mandatory efficiency savings and a 1% pay rise next financial year for public sector workers, while the LGA seems to be aiming for 0%, according to recent communications from them. There's not much sign of hope from the political opposition, either, with the Conservatives planning a 0% wage increase for one year if elected.

Set against a backdrop of rising inflation, council pay looks likely to decrease in real terms. Depending on the rate of inflation and how long pay is held down for, those who saw increases under job evaluation may see those gains wiped out in real terms - and the workers who sacrificed their wages to pay for the increases will suffer yet again.

Many workers are now approaching the end of their 'pay protection' period, meaning that they will now feel the impact of the wage cuts brought about by single status.

In the short term, this seems likely to further cool the economy, as public sector workers tighten their belts. The Midlands and North-East stand to be particularly badly hit, as a recent Centre for Cities report shows that these areas have some of the highest proportions of employees working within the public sector.