Thursday, 20 November 2008

As Salford heads for redundancies, Manchester increases wages

Reporter: Tom Rodgers

News has emerged today that Manchester City Council is increasing its baseline rate of pay to £1 per hour ABOVE the minimum wage, putting more than 900 of the lowest-paid workers at a higher salary. The minimum wage at present is £5.73, and Manchester council have voted to make the minimum hourly pay £6.74. This means that in an average month of 40 hours per week, workers can expect an extra £160 a month before tax.

Across the river, our own council has offered voluntary redundancy to all 11,300 of its workers, following a £15 million budget deficit. A report commissioned by the council by accountants KPMG noted that 279 jobs could go in order to save £20 million for Salford as part of their 'Think! Efficiency' project.

And amid all this fuss, Council members voted 31-20 in favour of the move to increase spending on their freesheet magazine LIFE in Salford by £120,000, despite strong opposition from its own scrutiny committee, a resignation from Cllr Steve Cooke from the editorial board, and resistance from Salford Star owner Stephen Kingston, who feels that his magazine is in direct competition with the Council's own.

Cllr John Merry said in response: "By increasing the frequency from six times a year to once a month and by adding more pages, the aim is to make it an even better way of keeping householders in touch with their council.

“While it will cost more to do this, I have set the magazine a revenue target for advertising each month to help offset this increase. In addition, we can advertise in Life ourselves, saving us the cost of advertising elsewhere or in producing some leaflets."

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