Sandwell Council customer service staff re-graded to receive pay rise


Customer service staff employed at Sandwell Council, who are members of the Unite and Unison trade unions, will receive a pay increase as a result of being re-graded into a new pay band.

Around 20 Unison and 14 Unite members were due to begin industrial action this week in a dispute regarding the organisation’s job evaluation process; the trade unions alleged that this process did not take into consideration the work that staff performed.

Unison and Unite members employed at Sandwell Council, working across its neighbourhood offices, voted to begin a ‘work to rule’ schedule from Friday 10 May 2019; this would have seen customer service staff refuse to accept calls, pass along information or handle matters pertaining to certain enquiries, such as evictions.

This action, however, was cancelled on 1 May 2019, after the affected staff accepted a new offer from the council. As at 1 May 2019, customer service employees have been re-graded; this will mean that staff who are currently paid between £19,000 and £20,000 a year will see their yearly pay increase by £4,000. They will also receive two additional days of leave.

Tony Barnsley, branch secretary, Sandwell General branch at Unison, said: “We congratulate our members for their unified show of strength.”

In a joint statement, Tracy Wood, regional officer at Unison, and Brian Rickers, spokesperson at Unite, added: “The offer of better pay from 1 May 2019 means that there will no longer be any need for the planned industrial action. We welcome the decision of Sandwell Council to bring this matter to a conclusion.”

A spokesperson at Sandwell Council said: “We are pleased to have resolved this issue by working closely with the unions. The agreement we have reached not only addresses staff concerns but will also help us improve customer service.”