Car park attendants’ golden wage

SOME Newcastle City Council staff earn $10 an hour more than private sector awards, according to internal council documents that admit wages have ‘‘gone out of alignment with the market’’.

Council car park attendants make $29 an hour – about 50 per cent more than the $19 an hour award offered by the private sector.

The council’s integrated strategic financial plan uses the comparison to highlight ‘‘inefficiencies’’ within the administration, and it will also fuel growing political arguments about outsourcing city services.

Before his resignation on Wednesday, council general manager Phil Pearce said it was clear the council needed to reduce staff numbers and services.

‘‘If we don’t have the money to pay for it, we can’t provide it,’’ he said.

Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy has also spoken about the need to trim staff and to put projects and services to tender.

The council’s internal financial plan, used as the basis for a cost-cutting drive announced in November, said employee costs increased by 9.3per cent in 2011, despite an overall decrease in the number of permanent employees.

This was ‘‘driven by a rise in salaries and wages of $3.6million’’ as well as increases to workers compensation insurance, employee leave entitlements and superannuation entitlements.

‘‘Employee costs are aligning with rises with the NSW State Award [and] there is much inefficiency with this,’’ the plan said.

It said work practices, processes and procedures also cause inefficiencies and there was a lack of integrated systems for data analysis..

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