Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 11:12 UK

Council pay deal 'best available'

The pay deal is designed to address historic inequalities

Union representatives have welcomed a pay deal which will see council staff wages rise by nearly £9m-a-year.

Dumfries and Galloway Council workers voted in favour of accepting the "single status" offer on Monday.

Unison, Unite and the GMB unions said it concluded a "very difficult" process which had taken about 10 years.

The deal sees 63% of the council's 6,500 workers get a pay rise while 22% remain static and the remainder face a salary reduction in three years' time.

Unison branch secretary Marion Stewart said she was pleased her members had voted to accept the offer designed to tackle historic pay inequalities.

'Eradicate inequality'

"This is a prime example of what can be achieved by good joint working and we are pleased the council has recognised and invested in our equality demands," she said.

"The package has been subjected to three external independent checks and has resulted in fairer pay for many previously undervalued and underpaid female groups."

It is believed to be only the second negotiated settlement to be achieved between unions and their employers in Scotland's 32 local authorities.

Ann Patterson, of Unite, said the joint trade unions believed the deal was the "best that could be achieved via negotiation".

She added: "We remain assured by the council's commitment to pay equality for all staff and both sides recognise that this is just the beginning of an ongoing process to eradicate pay inequality."

Ms Stewart said work would now begin to try to help those staff who are guaranteed pay at their current level for three years but face a pay cut after that.

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