Ex-cabinet member calls for Arun to end staff pay cap

Cllr Paul Dendle.'''Picture by Louise Adams C140228-7 Bog Feb27 Pickles SUS-140220-141148003
Cllr Paul Dendle.'''Picture by Louise Adams C140228-7 Bog Feb27 Pickles SUS-140220-141148003

Council staff should no longer be subject to pay cap to boost a ‘lack of morale’, a former cabinet member believes.

Paul Dendle voted against a Liberal Democrat motion to improve Arun District Council workers’ pay by more than the nationally-agreed one per cent in February.

But free from cabinet duties after a failed challenge to become deputy leader, Mr Dendle now believes staff deserve a larger rise.

Addressing full council on Wednesday, he said: “This cap has gone on for a number of years and is causing a lack of morale in our officers and I believe the leader made the point we do negotiations nationally but it doesn’t mean we can’t go beyond what we do nationally.”

Mr Dendle suggested giving staff a rise linked to the consumer price index (CPI).

Failing that, he said, staff should be given next year’s one per cent rise ahead of time as a gesture of goodwill.

The former cabinet member put the point to leader Gill Brown at last month’s cabinet but was told following his plan could undermine national negotiations.

He pressed the point again on Wednesday, also asking Mrs Brown if she would take personal responsibility if Arun was forced by a government inspector to deliver more homes than the 1,000 a year annual target envisaged in the local plan.

He received no reply.

He said: “Point of order. I asked three questions and they have not been answered.”

Chairman Jacky Pendelton said: “They don’t have to answer.”

“The democratically elected executive do not want to answer questions put by full council,” Mr Dendle replied.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Dendle denied using the issue as an attack in response to his cabinet dismissal.

He said: “I suppose it is a fair criticism and people will say that but when you are a cabinet member you have to tow the line. You are not free to speak freely.

“Now I can, I will speak freely and will take the executive to task on issues I think are important. The issues are, I think, important.”

Another idea to boost wages Mr Dendle suggested was awarding performance-related bonuses.

He warned if the ruling Conservative Party failed to address such challenges it could ‘pay dearly’ at the ballot box in 2019.