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Law Society staff are facing massive pay cuts and potential job losses as the society enforces a revised pay scheme.
The salary system, drawn up by Hay Management Consultants, which is also responsible for the current pay and conditions structure at the Legal Aid Board, also makes provision for "external career counselling services" for those choosing to leave the Law Society.
According to documents leaked to The Lawyer, those staff whose salaries exceed the top of the revised pay range will have their pay frozen for a period of three years. If at that point, the salary still surpasses the top of the range, staff's pay will be slashed.
The report says the old system "caused problems with progression over the last four to five years".
However, a Law Society insider says: "This latest pay review means that people are going to be held out of promotion because there is no gap for them to progress."
A spokesman at the Manufacturing, Science and Finance (MSF) union, which represents many of the Law Society's 800 employees, says: "Staff are not happy. We have held two meetings and we are in consultation with the management at the moment."
"Hopefully we can come to a deal that will be suitable to everyone," he says.
David McNeill, head of press at the Law Society states that the structure will be in place for April, adding: "People were paid over the market rate. The intention is to bring levels of salary into line with the external market."