Initial 2% pay offer rejected
As you know, earlier this month UNISON and the other local government unions rejected an initial offer of a 2% pay rise from the employers’ (represented by the Local Government Association).
Our claim was for a new minimum rate of £10 an hour, and 10% for everybody else. We also asked for improvements in annual leave and working hours, and joint work on mental health.
The employers made an initial pay offer of a one-year deal of 2% across all pay points from 1 April.
During negotiations, UNISON’s representatives expressed huge disappointment with the opening offer. We argued that pay settlements elsewhere have been higher and that this pay offer would leave local government further behind other parts of the public sector. It even fell short of rises needed to meet the Government’s long-term plans for the national living wage.
Since 2010, local government workers’ pay has lost fallen significantly in real terms, and as a result many of our members are struggling to get by.
UNISON called on the employers to think again and make a better offer. They agreed reconvene their full negotiating body to consider the points we made, before meeting with us again for further negotiations. We urged the employers to carry out this process as quickly as possible.
Regional pay briefings
Following our meeting the employers decided to launch a new round of regional pay briefings, to get local authorities’ views on local government pay and how they should respond to our rejection of the 2% offer.
We have expressed our concerns over this additional delay – although it does show they are taking the negotiations seriously. We hope they will use these regional meetings to get support for a significantly improved pay offer. In the meantime, we need to put maximum pressure on councillors, to get their support for our pay campaign and get their councils to support a better pay offer.
We are updating our ‘email your councillor’ online tool, to report on the initial offer and make clear that councils need to put pressure on the government to fund an improved pay offer. The updated tool will be launched next week, at our campaign website, https://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/fair-pay-now-council-school-workers/. We will notify you when it’s ready.
Please encourage as many members as possible to use this tool to email their councillors – even those who have done it already, as we have updated the text and we must keep the pressure up.
Write to the Chancellor!
We are also producing a model letter to send to the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, highlighting our pay campaign and demanding that he funds local authorities to allow them to meet our pay claim. The model letter will be launched next week on our campaign website, https://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/fair-pay-now-council-school-workers/. We will notify you when it’s ready.
UNISON recently published research showing that if the government funded our pay claim in full, they would recoup more than half of the money, through local government workers paying more tax, needing less in benefits and tax credits, and spending more in the local economy. You can read the research here:Public-Finances-Local-Gov-Pay-Claim-202021 Make sure members and local councillors are aware of this research!
The full Pay Bulletin update can be found here: Pay_Up_Now_2020_Bulletin_Issue_02