Birmingham City Council has been forced to hire private sector human resources experts to deal with an avalanche of appeals against a controversial pay and grading review.
More than 4,500 staff, almost a fifth of the total workforce, launched official objections to last year’s shake-up, which resulted in a number of workers facing pay cuts of more than £10,000. Some people won’t learn the result of their appeal until the end of 2010 – more than two years after the new system was introduced.
They will qualify for pay award backdated to April, 2008, if their appeals are successful.
It’s also emerged that almost all of the appeals heard so far have resulted in victories for the workforce. Of the 1,308 cases dealt with, 89 per cent were upheld – with grading and salary increases being approved.
The council says it is not surprised at the success rate since it decided to give priority to appeals from employees whose salaries were to be cut.
But officials admit the process is taking longer than expected to deal with. Equalities and human resources director Andy Albon said: “It is not possible at this stage to accurately predict when all appeals will be concluded. The appeals are of varying complexity and quality and often require the job evaluation team to go back to the employees and line manager to clarify or to seek additional information.
“Of the appeals outstanding there are currently approximately 500 which are awaiting additional information.” Most of the appeals are from staff in the social services and housing departments.
Mr Albon said he hoped that no-one facing a pay cut would have to wait more than 18 months for the result of an appeal.
• Absenteeism at the city council has improved only marginally during the past year.