After Yesterdays Blog in which I commented on the fact that many people from working families are now in poverty partly due to a vast increase in insecure work on zero-hours contracts, or in part-time or low-paid self-employment and that nearly 1.4 million people are on the controversial contracts that do not guarantee minimum hours, most of them in catering, accommodation, retail and administrative jobs. News that members of the Welsh assembly could get a £10,000 pay rise after the 2016 election, looks like a bad joke.
The increase would be 18% more than their current basic pay of around £54,000.
First Minister Carwyn Jones and members of his cabinet would see their pay rise to £140,000 and £100,000 respectively.
There is admittedly a case for the increase
Sandy Blair, chair of the remuneration board, said the increase would reflect the responsibility of the job.
"With new responsibilities come new expectations on AMs," he said.He added
"We are proposing a salary for AMs which reflects the weight of responsibility they carry."
''We hope that the people of Wales will share our view of the standing of our National Assembly, the quality of individual they should expect to seek election and the level of performance they should demand of them."
Clearly, people in Wales are facing difficult economic circumstances and there is great pressure on public spending,"
"But that is precisely why Wales needs to attract the highest calibre people to be members of the National Assembly.
''Wales needs good governance and good government. That requires a strong, effective National Assembly.
"For it to be so, the individual members of the assembly must be exceptional in their motivation and abilities and remunerated accordingly."
But there's a case for everyone in Wales to have a pay rise and we need exceptional Nurses,,Teachers etc.
It real bad timing for this to come out only a few days after it was announced that All NHS staff in Wales on ‘Agenda for change’ pay scales will receive a 1% consolidated pay rise from April 2015 in a deal agreed between health worker trade unions and the Welsh government.
In January 2015, the same staff will also receive an across-the-board £187 payment as part of a 2014–2015 pay settlement.
The Welsh government is also guaranteeing that all NHS staff will be paid at least the living wage from the beginning of 2015.
What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander if you forgive the cliche.
There's also a call to increase the number of AM if that should happen would our AMs then find that they have a pay cut?
The political parties have given a cautious reaction to the proposals.
A Labour source said the matter "will need to be discussed by the group in the assembly".
A Welsh Conservative spokesman said the party remained "committed to a reduction in the cost of Welsh politics" and hoped "as many people as possible have their say" in the consultation.
Plaid Cymru said the proposals "seem out of step with public sector pay" but would discuss them with the other parties.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats said they would respond to the proposals "in due course", but added that they had argued that AMs' pay should be frozen for the duration of the current assembly, "at a time when budgets have been squeezed".
So there's no clear rejection from any Party
Lets me clear if AMs are to be treated as other public sector workers (because that's what they essentially are) then any pay increase should be line.
The report has some merit in that it highlights the increasing role of the Assembly and our AMs but if they are working harder then surely support staff are also doing so.
Have they an equal claim.?
There may well be a case for a larger increase to match increased responsibilities and workload,but now is not the time.