A Labour councillor in Southwark has branded performance-related pay schemes "absolutely ridiculous" – despite such a system being reintroduced by his own Labour administration next month.

Councillor Gavin Edwards said "anyone who knows anything about pay and reward knows that [performance-related pay] is completely discredited," adding that implementing such a system at Southwark Council would be a "ridiculous idea" which would "not boost performance".

He made the comments at a Council Assembly meeting last week, after Liberal Democrat councillors floated the idea of a performance-related pay system for lower grade council workers.

But it has now become clear that Southwark’s Labour council intends to re-introduce a system of performance-related pay from April – though only for staff earning over £61,977. Lower grade staff will not be eligible under the scheme, which was previously in place at the council but frozen three years ago.

Information obtained by the Liberal Democrats shows that the new scheme could cost the council £358,378 next year.

This will be in addition to an existing bill of £419,059 a year in benefits for officers earning over £44,907, including an estimated £100,000 in car leases and £105,568 in cash payments.

Local Liberal Democrats have urged Labour councillors to put in place "a fair bonus system or no bonus system at all" and create a more transparent pay system.

Southwark Liberal Democrats also hit out at Cllr Edwards for claiming the current Labour administration introduced the Living Wage for council staff, despite it being brought in under the previous Liberal Democrat administration in 2003.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat councillor for South Bermondsey Cllr Michael Bukola said:

"It shows just how chaotic Southwark’s Labour administration is at the moment when Labour councillors are openly discrediting their own party’s policies. I wonder if Cllr Edwards has raised these concerns with his Labour Cabinet colleagues who have just signed off a new performance-related pay scheme in Southwark?"

"If the council is going to reintroduce performance-related pay, it should be available to everyone, not just those at the top of the pile. There should either be a fair bonus system or no bonus system at all."

"If the Liberal Democrats are elected to run the council from May we will create a fairer and more transparent system, rewarding the hard work and commitment of council officers lower down the pay scale rather than just those at the top."

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