City Hall staff earning between £18,000 and £25,000 are to receive a 4% pay rise following a year-long, cross-party campaign by the London Assembly.
The estimated cost of the increase, which will be backdated to April 2011, is £50,000.
In January Assembly Members agreed a motion calling on then City Hall Chief Executive Leo Boland to revisit an across the board pay freeze and implement a “modest” increase for the Greater London Authority’s lowest paid staff.
Despite the motion staff received no increase after Boris Johnson refused to back the call.
Speaking in December the Mayor said: “The final decision is the Head of Paid Service’s after consulting with me and the Assembly. I agree with his decision to have a 0 pay increase in the GLA.”
The Mayor also claimed “our constituents would prefer to see a pay freeze than cuts to the services provided by the GLA.”
Despite blocking pay increases for City Hall staff, Boris Johnson awarded two of his advisors increases totalling £73k.
The Assembly motion was proposed by Green Party AM Darren Johnson and supported by all parties.
Proposing the motion, Mr Johnson said: “It would cost less than two tenths of one percent of the total salary budget at City Hall to pay for this modest rise, that’s less than chicken feed by Boris Johnson’s standards.”
In an email to staff, current City Hall Head of Paid Service Jeff Jacobs said:
“It is our usual practice for the pay award to be in line with National Joint Council for local authorities. This year the pay award proposed by the NJC is 0%. Given the current financial climate, it would not be appropriate for us to deviate generally from the position of local and central government. Of course, all eligible GLA staff will continue to receive incremental pay rises.
“I recognise that a pay freeze for a second year would impact most severely on lower paid staff . I have therefore decided to agree a 4% increase for the lowest paid staff in the GLA – that is those on Grade 1-3. This increase will be backdated to April 2011. The pay award for staff Grade 4 and above will be 0%.
“I have taken this decision following formal consultation with the Mayor and the Assembly who supported the position. I have also consulted Unison who have confirmed their agreement to this pay offer.”
Welcoming news of the increase, Teresa Askew, the Greater London Authority Unison branch secretary, said: “This is great news for the lowest paid staff at City Hall and a huge victory for Unison.
“In a climate of cuts and completely unjustified attacks on public sector workers’ pay this shows what’s possible with good campaigning and hard negotiation. Inflation is still above four per cent so this is a modest but entirely right pay award for staff who are being squeezed by rising prices, fares and bills.”
Assembly Members have also welcomed the rise. Labour group leader Len Duvall said: “Without these members of staff City Hall just couldn’t function. It’s right that in tough times we acknowledge the squeeze they and other lower paid workers are under with rising fares, prices and bills.
“I’m pleased that the pressure from Unison and my Assembly colleagues has finally paid off. I’ve always said that when the Mayor does the right thing, whether or not it’s because of negative headlines, we’ll support him.”
Darren Johnson said: “I’m glad City Hall has seen sense this year, helping the lowest paid keep up with high food prices, rents and fares in London. But next year we need to start narrowing the wage gap by lifting pay for far more employees on low and middle incomes.
“This year the GLA has given a 4% pay rise to the lowest paid, while the Mayor gave 34% and 55% pay rises to two of his advisors. That’s completely the wrong way around.”