Council promises help over ‘hardship’ after staff paid late

PAY PROBLEMS ... Unison rep Merv Butler has expressed concerns over the delay in council staff being paid.

PAY PROBLEMS ... Unison rep Merv Butler has expressed concerns over the delay in council staff being paid.

THOUSANDS of South Tyneside Council workers were left without pay after wages failed to be released into bank accounts.

About 6,000 employees – including cooks, teachers, cleaners, clerical staff and officers – were left angered after realising they hadn’t been paid yesterday.

An investigation has now been launched by Town Hall bosses to find out exactly what caused the delay, with employees being belatedly paid today.

It left workers worried about facing defaults on direct debits that had been due to be taken out of accounts yesterday.

A council spokesman said BT South Tyneside provides the payroll processing service for the authority, and that it had offered a “sincere apology” for the delay and acknowledged it may have caused some distress.

The authority also confirmed any employee incurring financial charges over their late pay would be reimbursed, providing they could show evidence of receiving such penalties.

Councillors’ members allowances were also affected.

Unison trade union officials were contacted by disgruntled members worried about credit scores being affected, as well as wondering when they would be paid.

Branch secretary Merv Butler said: “We were informed by the council of an issue of wages failing to be paid to all council staff.

“We have been contacted by our members who were clearly concerned about the position they found themselves in, and in regards to their banks and direct debits.

“We have contacted the council and told them any bank charges incurred today as a result of this, should be reimbursed by the council.”

Coun George Elsom, opposition leader and independent representative for Cleadon Park, said: “I would expect no less than anyone who has incurred charges because of this to be reimbursed.

“I have just got back from holiday to e-mails, but none of them have given an explanation as to why this has happened.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “Following an issue with a delay in paying South Tyneside council employees yesterday, we can now confirm staff will be paid one day later than expected, on May 1, 2014.

“Arrangements are being put in place to assist staff with any hardship issues that may have arisen as a result of this delay. We thank staff for their patience and understanding on this matter.

“This is an isolated incident and we continue to investigate how it happened.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa

n Banking on timely pay ... Page 6




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