Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Local Government Pay - It's Time to take a Stand

Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been living with a pay freeze for the last three years. Our members haven’t even received the £250 promised by the government and given to other public sector staff in 2011 and 2012.
The bottom line:
  • since 2009 your pay has fallen by 16% after inflation
  • those on the lowest pay get little more than the national minimum wage
  • over two thirds of staff fall below the government’s low pay threshold of £21,000 pa
  • local government pay is by far the lowest in the public sector
  • more than 75% of the workforce are women so pay inequality is rising
  • many UNISON members are in debt and struggling to pay their bills.
Councils are cutting pay, freezing increments and slashing conditions. This is the thanks you get for keeping local services going and covering the 260,000 local government jobs that have been cut. Local promises of job security in return for cuts to pay and conditions have been broken everywhere.

We believe it’s time to take a stand!
Now, to add insult to injury, the employers have offered an initial pay deal that UNISON cannot accept.

Let’s take a stand together

UNISON believes that you have shown your commitment to keeping council services going. Now your employers need to show their commitment to you. 
The employers have offered:
  • 1% on all pay points – but only if you accept lower mileage rates from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the union gives up the right to go to arbitration if we can’t agree a pay  offer or other changes to your conditions
  • an increase in basic annual leave of one day to 22 days – which would only benefit a small number of staff
  • an extension of continuous service protection from five to 10 years if you return to local government employment after a break.
They also want us to discuss further cuts to your conditions – including sick pay – next year. If we don’t agree they have threatened to offer a ‘punishment option’ of 1% for those on scale  points 4-10 – that’s over 200,000 employees – and 0.6% for those above.

UNISON believes it’s time to take a stand against poverty pay to start making up for the earnings we have lost over the last three years.

Councils can pay more

The government has hit local government hard, but councils can still afford to pay more:
  • many have already said that they can pay 1% or more without strings
  • councils outside the NJC bargaining group have all offered at least 1% this year – some 2%
  • some councils have already paid the living wage and others are promising to - that’s a 15% pay rise on the bottom rate so they can afford a better deal for everyone
  • council reserves have risen from £13bn to £16bn in the last two years - just £1bn would mean a 5% pay rise to make up for lost pay
  • the amount spent by councils on pay has fallen by 10% – £1.4bn - in the last year alone as jobs and pay have been cut and that’s on top of huge savings in previous years too.
We don’t believe that the employers’ offer reflects what councils have said they can afford.

What happens next?

We are asking you to contact your local councillors and council leader to say that the offer is an insult you can’t accept. Most councils have a website which will tell you who your councillors are and how to contact them. Email us on if you would like model text to use.

UNISON’s priority is to get the employers back into negotiations to try and improve the offer.

We will also begin preparations to consult all affected members on the final offer.

Check out our website and our new Facebook page ‘Time To Take a Stand’.

No comments:

Post a Comment