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Public-sector HR directors accept that a pay freeze is necessary

A public-sector pay freeze is 'completely understandable', according to its HR directors.

Following the announcement the pay of 1.5 million local council employees is to be frozen from April, speaking on behalf of the Public Sector People Managers' Association (PPMA), Mike Cooke, director of organisational development at the London Borough of Camden, said: "The national employers' position on a pay freeze in 2010/11 is completely understandable given the pressures on councils' budgets next year and beyond.

"It's also widely accepted that national pay and conditions need to be modernised. The current arrangements have been around for years, aren't focused on performance and have lots of costs built into employment conditions. The PPMA sees many advantages, including control over future costs, in reforming pay and conditions sooner rather than later and it isn't clear how the employers' current position is going to achieve this. We would like to see negotiations with the trade unions to tackle things such as pay enhancements for overtime and weekend working, automatic increments and holidays.

"Reforms like this would bring us in line with other sectors and we would still have a strong employment ‘offer' to help us recruit and retain talented staff. The PPMA believes there is a real need to work harder to communicate the range of benefits such as the pension scheme and flexible working so that employees understand what reward and benefits they get in complete terms."