Saturday, 2 March 2013

Local Government workers have nothing to lose but their chains - Reject the 1% pay offer

The joint Local Government Trade Unions submitted a pay claim for this year demanding ‘a substantial flat rate increase on all scale points as a step towards the longer term objective of restoring pay levels and achieving the Living Wage as the bottom NJC spinal column point’.

The Local Government Employers have put two options on the table, both of which I think are a kick in the teeth for local government workers. We have had our pay frozen for 3 years, amounting to a real terms 15% pay cut. Local Government workers earning under £21,000 did not get the £250 pay increase promised by George Osborne. The lowest rate of local government pay is only a few pence above the minimum wage - if we'd had inflation pay increases over the last few years it would be closer to the living wage. 20% of local government workers still earn under the living wage. But not only have we had a pay cut over the last 3 years we have also suffered massive job losses, along with reductions in terms and conditions.

Where I work at North Somerset Council there have already been massive cuts, but because George Osborne has decreed that austerity will last even longer my council is now preparing to make another 30% cut to its budget up to 2018, including a 10% cut for 2014 - this will result in many more job losses. A 1% pay increase at a time when inflation is close to 3% and after 3 years of a pay freeze is just not good enough. But for me it's also very simple - if it is likely that potentially a third to a half of local government workers are going to be made redundant in the next 4 years, and given that our redundancy packages are based on our weekly pay then wouldn't it be a good idea to get our weekly pay increased by as much as possible, so when we are made redundant our packages are as good as possible.

Local Government workers have now got nothing to lose by taking action, but everything to gain. Those members who are worried they will lose their jobs if they take action to get a fair pay increase, don't need to worry, because if the government doesn't change course (and it won't!), half of us will lose our jobs anyway.

My own view is that along with the other local government trade unions we combine a work to rule, with individual days of strike action, and that we also put pressure on the TUC to call a general strike, and that we take action until the substantial flat rate increase that we demanded is put on the table, and my own view on this is that the substantial flat rate increase should be £2200 - which would then take all those local government workers earning just above the minimum wage, up to the living wage.

The options are below and here's the the link to Pay Matters Campaign Issue 1 outlining the reasons why members should reject:

Option 1

1.0% on all pay points from 1 April 2013

NJC mileage rates replaced by HMRC Approved Mileage Rates ( for those councils currently applying NJC rates, from a date to be agreed (Green Book Part 2 Para 12 and Part 3 Para 6 refers)

Unilateral arbitration clause replaced by bilateral reference, from date to be agreed (Green Book Constitution Para 17 refers)

An increase in the minimum paid annual leave entitlement from 21 days to 22 days, from a date to be agreed (Green Book Part 2 Para 7.2 refers)
Increase in continuous service entitlement for the purposes of calculation of entitlements to annual leave, occupational maternity leave / pay and occupational sick pay from return to service within five years to within ten years of the original transfer, from a date to be agreed (Green Book Part 2 Para 14.2 and 14.3 refers)
Joint statement providing a list of the issues on which both Sides agree to commence immediate serious discussions.

(NB: all dates for implementation of changes to be agreed as part of final deal)

Option 2

1.0% on pay points 4 to 10 from 1 April 2013

0.6% on pay points 11 and above from 1 April 2013

The branch needs members views on whether they are prepared to be balloted to take strike action, and/or action short of strike action in order to get an improved offer. Please let us know what you think by speaking to your workplace representative or by emailing

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