UNIONS in Southampton claim the City Council's top civil servant could net a 13 per cent pay rise this year.

Brad Roynan, chief executive of Southampton City Council, could be in line for the increase, which would take his pay to about £146,000 a year, say unions.

They have branded the proposed wage deal 'insensitive' while they remain locked in pay negotiations with local government bosses.

The city council says Mr Roynan's pay would not increase by anything like the amount the unions fear.

Secret documents passed to the Daily Echo reveal that Mr Roynan's current salary is from £110,787 to a maximum of £127,131 per annum.

An all-party panel of councillors is being recommended to revise his salary to bring it in line with pay of other council chief executives and top executives from private companies.

If councillors agree with the report, which is due to be presented to members of the employment panel on May 26, Mr Roynan, pictured, could earn anything between £127,131 and £146,000 over the next 12 months.

Mike Tucker, secretary of the Southampton branch of Unison, said: "The increase in his pay is not an inflation increase. The council is trying to get council employees to accept a seven per cent increase over three years."

Other senior officers on the council would also have their grades adjusted upwards during the wage review, which will be conducted by members of all three political parties on the council.

A city council spokesman said: "The chief executive's salary will not rise by 13 per cent - nor will it increase to £146,000. Beyond that, however, it is not council policy to talk about a single individual's salary. A pay review is taking place.

"This is a regular and normal event as required by a council policy decision in 2001. This will be discussed by a council employment panel made up of councillors.

"They will be considering a report prepared by officers with regard not just to the chief executive but other senior officers also. This reviews their salaries in relation to the outside world. However, a 13 per cent increase of any employee's pay - or anything near it - is not proposed."