DOZENS of staff at Scottish Enterprise are suffering severe wage cuts just weeks after it was revealed the majority of workers, including its highly paid directors, enjoyed above inflation pay rises.

It is understood close to 30 staff across the publicly funded economic development organisation are facing up to salary reductions of around 10 per cent on average.

A spokesman from the Public and Commercial Services Union said it had been in talks about the possibility of salary reductions.

He said: “We have since advised management that we did not accept the proposed reductions and would support any PCS member who wished to challenge the proposed salary cut.”

The cuts are understood to have come into force in August.

Longer serving staff, who are more likely to have benefited from incremental pay rises over the years, appear to be the ones most affected by the changes.

One person involved said they felt this was “not quite the equality agenda that the government is seeking within one of the largest public sector employers”.

There was also anger that other staff were given salary rises of between one per cent and 2.52 per cent.

Scottish Enterprise said it was abiding by guidelines on fair pay and had to make sure workers in the same job banding were not earning greater sums than were allowed.

Carolyn Stewart, managing director of people at Scottish Enterprise, said: “In line with public sector pay guidance, it’s important that we operate a policy of fair, equal and proportionate pay and that staff doing similar work are paid to the same maximum amount.

“We’re reducing salaries to the maximum allowed in each salary band and we’ve done everything we can to minimise the impact of this for staff, including starting the consultation process with trade unions a number of years ago and phasing in the reductions.”

On the pay rises which it awarded in its most recent financial year Scottish Enterprise said: “We implemented a modest progression for all staff in line with public sector pay guidelines, from one per cent to 2.52 per cent depending on position within the pay band and providing the salary was below the band maximum.”

The Scottish Government sets out a framework for public sector remuneration in a number of organisations including Scottish Enterprise.

Scottish Enterprise’s chief executive Lena Wilson has seen her basic pay rise almost 2.5 per cent from £203,000 to £208,000, according to the quango’s recently published annual report.

Ms Wilson also received pension benefits worth £41,000 in the 2014/15 financial year.

Her basic pay is already close to the maximum ceiling of £212,283 recommended under the most recent Scottish Government guidelines for public sector chief executives operating at a band three level.

The guidelines note the minimum for someone at that level would be £103,540 and the maximum £142,814 for the 2015/16 financial year.

However the ceiling payment threshold gives additional leeway for public sector organisations to pay more.

Ms Wilson also picks up another £68,000 from a part-time non-executive director role with FTSE100 materials testing business Intertek.

Several senior members of Scottish Enterprise’s leadership team, many of whom earn more than £100,000 annually, also received pay rises in the most recent financial year.

Asked about the levels of pay rises awarded to Ms Wilson and other members of its senior leadership team Scottish Enterprise said: “The one per cent to 2.52 per cent modest progression relates to all staff and has the same conditions applied at all grades – any progression depends on position within salary band, and the resulting salary must be below the maximum in the band.”

In its 2015 annual report Scottish Enterprise recorded staff costs on wages and salaries of £50.1m, up from £48.2m.

According to the report it employed an average of 1367 full-time staff in the year with a median remuneration of £38,567.

PCS has 26,000 members across Scotland.

Ms Wilson has previously faced criticism from politicians and unions over her non-executive role at Intertek.

Scottish Enterprise’s outgoing chairman Crawford Gillies has also been criticised after it emerged he had investments in companies which the economic development body gave financial backing to.