Test Valley Borough Council has approved a “very generous” pay rise for all its employees at a meeting of councillors last night (August 26).

Everyone working for the council, from trainees and apprentices all the way to the most senior positions, will see their salaries increased by 2.75%.

This ensures that all workers will receive at least the National Living Wage of £9.30 an hour, and the increase matches that which is taking place nationally.

The offer, which was submitted to unions representing staff, was accepted by two, Unison and GMB, but was rejected by Unite. Despite this, the rise will apply to all staff.

The leader of TVBC, Cllr Phil North, said that the rise “only right and proper.”

“I know that it puts us in the budgetary position where we need to spend a little extra cash to do so,” he said, “but it wouldn’t send out the right message to our staff if we award them less this year than the national pay award.”

“We have been more generous in other years, but our success as an organisation really does depend on our staff and we need to reward them.”

Councillors also heard that TVBC is to pay a one-off payment of £300 to frontline council workers during lockdown, which Chief Executive Andy Ferrier said were “predominantly refuse workers,” as well as a payment of £200 to staff who went “over and above their normal work as part of the Covid-19 response.”

Cllr Alan Dowden also spoke in support of the motion, saying that he “very much support[s] the pay award.” He noted that the Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation, was at 1.5% in March, and at 1.1% in July, meaning the increase is “more than double” the inflation rate.

“I think staff would appreciate this,” he said, “and it’s sad one union disagreed, but I think they will welcome it. I think it’s well-deserved.”

The motion passed with no dissent, and is backdated to April 1 2020.