Labour councillors in Cardiff have once again challenged their own administration over a controversial restructure of senior management.
One Labour member said today she was being “whipped by my group” to support proposals to hire a new top-level management team at a cost of £1.1 million a year, despite being “far from happy” about the plans.
The restructure will create a 23-strong team of managers – an increase from the current number of 17 – including two corporate directors on salaries of £130,000 a year, eight directors on £120,000 a year, and eight assistant directors on £80,000 a year.
The Labour administration insists the restructure will be cost neutral because of a reduction in spending on external management consultants – something that cost the authority £3.5 million in 2011/2012 – and that it is necessary in order to achieve its vision for the city while making savings.
But, as previously reported, at least a dozen backbench Labour councillors have broken ranks to speak out against their own party, raising concerns about redundancies and industrial action, and two Labour councillors claimed this afternoon they being “whipped by [their] group” into supporting proposals they do not agree with.
At a meeting of the council’s cross-party employment conditions committee to agree the remuneration and terms and conditions of the new posts, Trowbridge’s Labour ward member Monica Walsh said: “I’m far from happy at the level of cost that senior management is going to be employed on. £130,000, £120,000 for a senior management post when there is going to be a tremendous amount of job losses in this council, and outsourcing going on.”
“Having said that, I am whipped by my group to support these proposals.”
Fellow Labour councillor and Riverside ward member Councillor Cecilia Love added that she too “supported the sentiment” of Coun Walsh’s statement.
But despite Conservative group leader David Walker urging both Labour councillors to abstain from the committee vote, Coun Walsh and Coun Love voted in support of the terms and conditions of the new posts, and they were passed by four votes to three.