Make agency staff permanent, says Cllr McAuley
DUP Councillor John McAuley has called for Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council agency staff to be made permanent quicker than projected, writes Gillian Anderson, Local Democracy Reporter.
At a meeting of the Environmental Services Committee, when discussing the Environmental Services Business Plan for 2021/22, Cllr McAuley said; “I see it says Quarter 1 for the transfer of permanent staff to Causeway Coast & Glens terms and conditions but Quarter 3 for reducing the dependency on agency staff. It seems quite a way off yet. “We really owe it to quite a few of the agency staff who have done tremendous work throughout the pandemic and I think us trying to speed up that process and give them a permanent contract would be a way of showing how valued they are.”
Some staff still are operating under the varying legacy council’s terms and conditions with a significant reliance on agency staff.
Director of Environmental Services, Aiden McPeak responded; “We have a proposal document about the issue with the unions with regards to the harmonisation of the terms and conditions. “The new job descriptions have been agreed and evaluated and we are in the process of matching those across which will hopefully transfer the existing permanent staff into the new terms and conditions.
“As soon as that’s done and agreed through the negotiations, we will be in a position to use the new job descriptions for the agency staff or go through the process of appointment, we hope many of the agency staff that are there will be able to apply and get those posts.
“In relation to the timescale, we are hoping to fast track that in Quarter 3 but we would hope to close that out a bit quicker.”
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council topped the table for agency staff expenditure in 2018-19 according to Local Government Auditor Pamela McCreedy’s report for 2020. Spending £7.3 million (2018-19), one third of its entire wage bill, it was a significantly higher spend than the other 10 councils.