West Dunbartonshire Council temporarily scrap fortnightly overtime payments amid claims of ‘overworked’ staff

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Concerns have been raised over the council’s decision to temporarily scrap fortnightly overtime payments, fearing it will leave the lowest-paid workers struggling.

Non-contractual overtime will now be paid every four weeks to ease pressure on payroll staff amid claims the department was ‘on its knees’.

West Dunbartonshire Council took the decision after agreement from the unions.

Councilor Jim Bollan says the move is due to a ‘failure’ by senior civil servants to recruit staff, saying 1,300 people have left in the past two years.

He said it had caused “extreme stress” for the overworked staff.

GMB’s David Scott said the unions had to accept it because the whole board had hardly been paid earlier this year.

The local authority denies this but says it is essential to support salaried employees, who have seen ‘significant increases’ in workload.

David said: “About three months ago, the whole council almost went unpaid due to a combination of people retiring and leaving the payroll department.

“The department is on its knees.

“The council suggested rather than paying the non-contractual fortnight, they would do it once a month to reduce their workload and that it would be on a temporary basis.

“We have members on the payroll and we need to support them as well.

“We don’t know how long it will take, but we have requested a three-month review.”

He added: “It caused upheaval. The lowest paid workers, such as housekeepers and carers, will be mainly affected by this situation.

“However, we didn’t want to be in another scenario where the entire board was almost unpaid. We couldn’t risk it happening again.

A former shop steward told the Lennox Herald that a carer called him in tears.

He said: ‘I’ve had a few carers on the phone who are really upset, including a single mum who depends on it.

“There was no union consultation with them.

“Domestic carers receive a fuel allowance and they are paid in their salary, but will now have to wait longer for this.

“They need the money to get to work and that’s all the more important as fuel prices are almost £2 a litre.

“They will still get their contractual fortnightly pay, but it’s overtime that a lot of them rely on.”

Leven’s adviser Jim claimed that failing to recruit the necessary staff was to blame.

He said: ‘Management’s shift to monthly overtime payments, not wages, for the next 12 months is primarily due to senior management’s inability to recruit staff after the board lost 1,300 workers over the past two years.

“The payroll section is understaffed and overworked, causing extreme levels of stress for the remaining staff in that particular section, and others across the board.”

A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “Following agreement with the union, employees on this pay scale have been informed that all non-contractual overtime will now be paid every four weeks, starting July 14 .

“This change is essential to maintain the council’s statutory salary obligations and support salaried employees, who have experienced a significant increase in workload due to unprecedented demand following the pandemic.

“Any claim that employees have received almost no pay is false. All employees were paid as scheduled and there were no concerns otherwise.

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