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Amalgamation of Utility Authorities

Andy Onchan

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IOM Examiner Letters, February 18th 2014.


Disparity in pay at authorities

The imminent merger of the Manx Electricity Authority (MEA) and Isle of Man Water and Sewerage Authority (WSA) raises this concern.

According to the latest report and accounts of each organisation, 49 MEA staff members earned £50,000 or above, with six of these earning £75,000-£100,000, one £100,000-£125,000 and one £125,000-£150,000.

At the poor WSA, only seven staff earned £50,000 or above: five £50,000-£62,000, one £70,770 and one £88,223. In percentage terms it appears that these figures represent about 23 per cent of MEA staff but only 4 per cent of WSA staff.

In addition, the MEA and WSA contribute 17 to 22 per cent of salary in pension funding so, at the lower rate, anyone on £50,000 effectively receives a further £8,500 in salary after tax.

Taxpayers should question, therefore, what will happen when the politicians, management and unions get together to ‘harmonise’ terms and conditions in the new authority.

My experience in the private sector shows that this process always tends towards the worse of the two packages but I fully expect that in the public sector the reverse will apply. I hope that Mr Houghton and his cronies can resist the temptation to upgrade salaries so that 23 per cent of total staff in the new authority make £50,000 or more, and make other adjustments, just to make pay ‘fair’.

The handling by the government of the implementation of the toilet tax and the merger has so far been a huge public relations disaster and this situation will only get worse if the public are not kept up to date with details of what happens in respect of staffing, salaries and other merger issues. The first report and accounts of the amalgamated authority should be required reading for everyone!

Name and address supplied


There are some very valid points in this letter.


It will certainly be interesting to see how COMIN will navigate their way around the disparities without some kind of industrial action taking place.


Unintended consequences come to mind.

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Shocking largesse once more, although of course, we come to see that as the norm where the taxpayer/chargepayer is footing the bill. But you have to wonder whether the issue of differentials ever even crossed the minds of those planning the merger at a strategic level.

I suspect the answer to your last sentence Woolley, was no!

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Weren't a lot of the MEA deals a result of Mike Proffitt's generosity during his period of control? It's fairly typical that rather than tell these people that the boom times were over when the whole scandal was revealed, the Government just kept on paying them these inflated amounts for years. You might almost think it was hush money, but it's more likely to be the inability of the the Manx political establishment to confront to anyone except the public.

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