Anger over job evaluation wage cuts

    Local authorities have been accused of using job evaluations to
    slash wages with some social care staff facing cuts of up to
    £4,000.

    In Hull, assessment officers face pay cuts of between £3,000
    and £4,000 and some social workers stand to lose £2,000
    as a result of job evaluation. Public sector union Unison is
    preparing more than 1,000 appeals against the council.

    “This is a complete slap in the face – devaluing us at a time when
    we need to be valued,” said one social worker, whose salary is
    being cut from £26,000 a year to £24,000. “If this
    happens I will lose my house. I know people are resigning over
    this.”

    Rob Batty, Unison branch secretary at Hull Council, said
    professions such as social workers and solicitors had been hit
    particularly hard. “One problem is the council based its
    evaluations on five-year-old job descriptions,” he said.

    British Union of Social Work Employees general secretary Steve
    Anslow said the union would be contacting the Office of the Deputy
    Prime Minister about the cuts.

    “Ten years of effort to make social work scales reflect the worth
    of the real value and level of work done have been thrown out of
    the window in Hull, along with their chances of recruiting,” Anslow
    said.

    Meanwhile, social workers in Dorset have been told to expect salary
    cuts – as yet unspecified – after a similar council-wide job
    evaluation. One social worker facing a pay cut questioned whether
    the Diploma in Social Work was “worth the paper it’s written
    on”.

    Councils in England and Wales are carrying out job evaluations as a
    result of the single status agreement between unions and the
    National Joint Council for Local Authorities (NJC).

    The NJC agreed a job evaluation scheme, which included scoring for
    the emotional demands of the job, but it was not made compulsory.
    Some councils have combined the NJC evaluation with others such as
    that by the American consultancy the Hay Group.

    Fiona Westwood, Unison’s national officer, said: “Because of a lack
    of central funding local authorities are trying to do job
    evaluation on the cheap. But only the NJC scheme measures the
    emotional demand that comes with a job.”

    A Hull Council spokesperson said the evaluation would be subject to
    an independent external validation, to ensure its “fairness and
    accuracy”.

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