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Unison slams Flintshire County Council £330,000 wages blunder

A TRADE union has hit out at Flintshire County Council after the authority admitted it had overpaid staff more than £330,000 in the past four years.

The figures were revealed in a report presented to the council’s audit committee last week.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The council says it has no money and is having to cut jobs and services, but this whole pay debacle shows it has no handle on its finances.

“This is not the fault of hard-working staff and they must not pay the price for the council’s mistake.

“Some staff have been overpaid over a number of years by up to £8,000, which is a huge amount for one person earning a low wage to repay, while other low-paid staff have been under-paid.

“We have put forward our recommendations to the (council) audit committee and are supporting our members by dealing with this on a case-by-case basis.”

In 2010 more than £155,000 was overpaid to staff.

The authority is already in the process of recouping the cash, but Unison said some employees have successfully argued they should not have to pay back the cash on the grounds they did not knowingly receive over-payments and that it would cause hardship to repay the money.

The reasons for the over-payments included the incorrect or late notification of changes in employees’ hours and incorrect pension or National Insurance deductions.

Helen Stappleton, the council’s head of human resources, said the issue would be ‘rectified speedily, sensitively and in accordance with our procedures’.

She added: “As part of this audit work, we have introduced improvements to our procedures and controls which will reduce the number of errors occurring in the medium to long term.”

Cllr Mike Peers said: “Ideally the council wouldn’t over-pay people in the first place.”