Welcome to the Ceredigion branch’s Pay Negotiations page. On this page you will be able to view all news items that are of current interest and also links to other useful information.
Pay Claim 2014.15
Please click here to get all the latest news on the pay negotiations taking place from the main Unison web site.
Letter to Mark Williams MP – Aug 2014
Letter for download
Further to our ongoing pay dispute please find attached a letter to our local MP Mr Mark Williams calling on him to lend his support to our campaign to halt and reverse the dramatic decline in local government pay. Your trade union, and your branch, would be very grateful to you if you could take the time to fill in your name and address in the top right hand corner and send it directly to Mr Williams (either by e-mail at email@example.com or by post to 32 North Parade, Aberystwyth, SY232NF) or alternatively return it to the Branch Chair, Owain Davies, who will forward it on for you.
Following the one day strike action in July, the employers (the LGA) have refused to respond to our claim or return to negotiations. Furthermore they are refusing even to allow ACAS to arbitrate in this dispute, despite that being the recourse that is available to either party within the NJC Green Book constitution.
So the background to this dispute is that Local Government pay has fallen by 20% in the last 4 years (equivalent to around 10 weeks wages) and the collective negotiating agreements with your Union are beginning to breakdown.
Whatever your thoughts are on this years pay claim or the unions industrial action strategy, now that we have collectively taken a stand on this issue it is vital that we hold firm to that stand until we make some progress. This includes lobbying our elected MPs to gain their support and keep the pressure on the LGA. If everyone in our branch sends this message to Mr Williams he will find it very difficult to ignore us (particularly in an election year) and it WILL help our campaign.
In addition to lobbying our politicians UNISON has also confirmed that there will be a second day of all out strike action on THURSDAY 14th OCTOBER. Please put this date in your diaries, try and persuade non-members to join us, and consider volunteering for a picket line at your place of work.
We do appreciate that the loss of pay for strike days is a blow, but this has to be put in the context of the 20% cuts to pay that we have suffered (equivalent to around £3000 per year for someone earning £15,000 if their pay had kept pace with inflation). This makes each days pay more precious but at the same time if we cannot restore the link between pay and inflation, it will be worse next year and worse the year after that.
Our branch will also be actively supporting the TUC MARCH IN LONDON ON SATURDAY 18th OCTOBER, we will be providing free coach travel to London and back so please do consider joining your colleagues in the branch and from across the UK in London on that day. Again it is vital that we keep the pressure up in this campaign, and if you are willing to take strike action to advance the cause then please do try to make the effort of having a day in London to do so too.
The March is not just limited to Local Government or public sector workers, but is for all working people in the UK whose wages have fallen significantly in real terms since the coalition government came to power (and before then) while earnings and bonuses for the highest paid have continued to rise well above inflation (including MPs who are getting over 10% this year), with the slogan for the March being “BRITAIN DESERVES A PAY RISE”
Please note that your friends and family are also welcome to join us on the coach(es), so please book your seats either with myself or Ann Jones (Ann.Jones4@ceredigion.gov.uk)
Your trade union is pulling out the stops this year to win you a decent pay rise and halt the ongoing decline in wages, our strength though lies in our members and in our numbers and we need to make our numbers felt if we are to make progress. So please do your bit by lobbying your MP, joining the picket line, and joining the march in London. It will make a difference and it will be worth it,
Cangen Cadeirydd – Branch Chair
Three years of pay freeze no joke says UNISON
Hundreds of thousands of low paid local government workers including home carers, residential care workers, school dinner ladies, cleaners and teaching assistants have been fooled out of a pay rise again this year, said UNISON today (1 April).
When staff look at their pay slips on April 1, the £250 increase promised by George Osborne to public sector workers earning under £21,000 will be missing for another year.
Heather Wakefield, UNISON Head of Local Government, said:
“Living on poverty wages is no joke. It is a disgrace that George Osborne has tried to fool local government workers and the public into believing he cared enough about the hardship of low pay to announce he would cushion the impact of the Government pay freeze.
“Hundreds of thousands of low paid, mainly women workers – who every day care for people in our local communities – the carers, cleaners, cooks, teaching assistants and many more have been fooled out of the £250 promised by George Osborne.
“Try feeding your family or paying your bills when you have not had a pay rise for 3 years. £250 isn’t much to the likes of George Osborne but every little helps when you are on minimum wages.
“Instead of dragging local government workers into dispute, councils should do the right thing and pay the £250 now.” April 1 marks the third consecutive annual pay freeze. It means that council workers will have suffered a 15% pay cut in three years and now earn a shocking 10% less in real terms than in 1996.
Local government unions outraged at pay freeze
Local government unions, UNISON, GMB and UNITE, representing 1.6 million workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, have today been told that their members face a pay freeze in 2010/2011. The unions are calling on the local government employers to think again, saying that local government workers will struggle to afford basic essentials, with nearly 3% inflation rendering the pay freeze a real terms pay cut. The unions are calling for them to come to their senses and make a reasonable offer, saying that there is room in council budgets to give workers decent pay.
UNISON Head of Local Government, Heather Wakefield, said:
“The employer’s decision to cut our members’ pay without negotiation is a slap in the face for hard working council employees who have kept local communities together through the crisis.
“Two thirds already earn less than #18k a year. Last year George Osborne, Tory shadow chancellor said the Tories would not freeze pay for those earning in this pay bracket, now the Tory LGA is doing just that.
“Our members are already covering posts left vacant by wide-spread redundancies. 75% of the workforce are women so this is an outright attack on women’s pay.
“We know that councils can afford an increase. Council reserves have grown, while many have chosen to cut their own income by freezing council tax. Our members will be outraged by this threatened pay freeze.
“The trade unions will meet urgently to consider the next steps.”
Peter Allenson, National Officer for Unite the union, said:
“There has been absolutely no negotiation with the employers. We have had a position put to us that will effectively reduce our members’ living standards. There is no justification for what I would call a pay freeze, and our members would be angry and outraged to say the least.
“The employers should reconsider and come to negotiating table as soon as possible. In the mean time we will consult our members on the next steps.”
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary, said:
“Council workers will be absolutely furious about this and I’m personally appalled at the arrogance of the employers. There has been no discussion, no negotiation – just a political decision by conservative controlled local government.
“David Cameron needs to reign in his right-wing mavericks who run councils and have the audacity to think that this 2.5 % real terms pay cut for staff is how to deliver local services.
“We will now hold an urgent meeting of the trade union side to determine our plan of action. I guarantee the mood will be very angry.”
NJC PAY 2009/10 pay settlement – offer accepted
A meeting of the UNISON NJC was held on Wednesday, 09 September where results of the branch consultation where considered.
An overwhelming majority, 89% of members, accepted the offer on a 17% turnout. GMB and UNITE members also voted to accept. As a result, the employers have been asked to implement the agreement ASAP.
The settlement: From 1 April 2009
- Pay will increase by 1.25% on SCPs 4 to 10 and by 1% on SCPs 11 to 49 inclusive.
- Basic annual leave will also increase from 20 to 21 days for employees with less than five years’ service.
- The employers and trade unions will also endeavour to produce a best practice statement on handling redundancies by 1 December 2009.
Local Government Pay Offer 2009/10
Consultative Ballot Paper The Local Government Employers have offered:
- Pay From 1 April 2009 an increase of 1.25% on SCPs 4 to 10 inclusive.
From 1 April 2009 an increase of 1.00% on SCPs 11 to 49 inclusive.
- Annual Leave From 1 April 2009, an increase from 20 to 21 days in minimum annual leave for employees with less than five years’ service.
The National Agreement Part 2 Para 7.2 would therefore be amended to read as follows, with effect from 1 April 2009: 7.2 Annual Leave The minimum paid annual leave entitlement is twenty one days with a further four days after five years of continuous service. The entitlement as expressed applies to five day working patterns. For alternative working patterns an equivalent leave entitlement should be calculated.
- Joint Statement on Best Practice in Handling Redundancies By 1 December 2009, the NJC will produce joint guidance on best practice in handling redundancies.
The employers state that this improved offer represents their final position and they are not prepared to negotiate further. If the offer is rejected, councils will not implement it unilaterally so there would be no increase for 2009/10. Please read the following and place a cross in either the accept or the reject box. The UNISON NJC Committee’s decision is to recommend acceptance of the final offer as the best achievable by negotiation.
Local government unions condemn ‘mean’ pay offer
(08/04/2009) Local government unions have warned employers that the 0.5% pay offer for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is totally unacceptable, and it called on them to open meaningful negotiations as a matter of urgency.
After their joint meeting yesterday, UNISON, Unite and the GMB described the offer as “mean and paltry”, saying it meant just 3p an hour for hundreds of thousands, including nursery nurses, teaching assistants, care home workers, care assistants, road sweepers and refuse workers, school meals staff, social work assistants, cleaners, admin staff and library assistants.
And for groups such as social workers and planners, where there are huge vacancies, the increase amounts to no more than 7p an hour.
“How can the employers expect their hard-pressed workforce to exist on this breathtakingly mean offer of a paltry 3p an hour extra – just over £1 a week or £55 a year?” asked UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield.
“Who could honestly expect us to consider this acceptable? It is just not realistic and we know that the employers have already put aside money for an increase of between 1.5% and 2.5%.”
And Ms Wakefield continued: “How can they hope to recruit and retain enough social workers to make sure that children at risk are protected when they are offering a ridiculously low amount – what sort of carrot is this?
“We have only just settled last year’s claim, which went to ACAS. Let’s clear the decks and allow staff to get on with their jobs serving local communities without the spectre of damaging industrial relations.”
Pay Claim 2008/2009
Local government employers offer just 0.5%
(07/04/09) Local government unions expressed bitter disappointment yesterday at a 0.5% pay offer by the Local Government Employers.
The employers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have said that the offer, which is for 2009-10, will not be imposed, but will be withdrawn on 1 June if it has not been accepted by then.
The offer is lower than increases in other areas of the public sector, lower than most councils have budgeted for – and lower than the 2.33% rise that MPs have voted themselves.
The unions – UNISON, together with Unite and the GMB – are meeting today to discuss their response.
UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “I am bitterly disappointed and surprised at the offer.
“We know that most local authorities have budgeted for an increase of between 1.5% and 2%.
“Times are tough, but this offer of 0.5% will make it even harder for local government workers, who are already struggling to make ends meet.”
And she concluded: “The employers should look closely at other pay rates in the public sector or they risk losing essential staff and jeopardising services.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3 MARCH 2009 UNIONS WELCOME ACAS PAY AWARD AFTER LONG-STANDING DISPUTE Trade unions, representing 1.3 million local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, have welcomed an ACAS award of an additional 0.3%, bringing the 2008/2009 pay increase to 2.75% on all pay points. An extra £100 had already been agreed for the lowest paid. UNISON, UNITE and GMB had been involved in a long-standing dispute over pay, including strike action, last year. They had rejected previous offers and referred the dispute to binding arbitration. The award is backdated to 1 April 2008. In a joint statement, UNISON, Unite and GMB, said:“We welcome the fact that ACAS has accepted our arguments that members should receive a higher pay increase. ACAS stated that the award is ‘justified and affordable in the context of the claim for the year 2008/2009’.
Local government pay claim 2009
(19/01/09) This is going to be a difficult year for all public sector workers. We have argued in our claim that NJC employees are going to be vital to supporting local communities under stress. NJC Pay Claim 2009 Final – 12-Jan-09
Council workers get interim pay rise
(17/10/08) Local government workers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are set to get an interim pay rise to tide them over Christmas.
UNISON today confirmed that the employers have agreed to the union’s request for a 2.45% pay rise for staff, with an extra £100 for the lowest paid, backdated to April.
The increase is an interim measure – final settlement of this year’s pay award is awaiting the results of arbitration.
UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield welcomed the employers’ decision to pay the uplift backdated to April.
“With Christmas just around the corner, 2.45% will bring some comfort to local government workers struggling to cope with the rising cost of everyday essentials,” she said.
She added: “UNISON believes we have a strong case for a fairer deal for local government staff, which we are taking to ACAS for arbitration, and we are hopeful for an early decision.”
Members should receive the pay rise and back pay in their November pay packets.
Trade unions will meet with the employers again on 23 October to discuss the terms of reference for arbitration.
NJC committee agrees way forward on pay
(21/09/2008) UNISON’s NJC Committee met on 18 September to review progress in the negotiations over the pay award for 2008/9, which followed the two days of action in July, and the joint statement with the LGA which followed them.
A number of important decisions were made at the meeting. They are explained in detail below. Please pass them on to members and activists in your branch. The decisions were:
- not to ask members to take any further industrial action in relation to this year’s pay offer;
- to refer this year’s pay offer to ACAS for binding arbitration;
- to approach this year’s pay offer, any review of the Green Book and pay for 2009/10 separately;
- to submit a pay claim to the employers as soon as possible for 2009/10;
- to agree the trade union side’s aims for any future review of the Green Book;
- to undertake an in-depth review within the NJC Committee of the negotiations and events surrounding this year’s industrial action and to draw up plans to increase our bargaining strength at local and national level;
- to hold meetings of the full Joint trade union side of the NJC on 1 October and 3 November;
Three joint secretaries’ meetings have been held since the July action. UNISON and UNITE have consistently pushed the employers to resolve the outstanding pay dispute and this was the first point included in the framework for the negotiations, which was agreed after the second meeting.
Unfortunately the employers claim that there is no pressure on them to increase their final offer of 2.45% and 3.3% for those on scale points 4, 5 and 6 – either from individual local authorities, the Local Government Association or the government. The joint trade union side of the NJC executive therefore met to take stock of this situation on 10 September and to consider the unions’ aims for any review of the Green Book which might take place in the future. The 2007/8 pay settlement included such a review.
The trade union side recognised that members need and deserve a pay increase as soon as possible. With no apparent prospect of an improved offer, there was therefore a unanimous decision by all three unions – including the GMB – to recommend to their respective national committees that the matter be referred to the Arbitration and Conciliation Service (ACAS) for binding arbitration. The national agreement – the Green Book – provides for either side of the NJC to do this and we believe that the employers will not stand in our way.
NJC committee’s recommendations
The NJC committee – UNISON’s lay committee – with representatives from each region, considered a lengthy report from the negotiators on 18 September and also looked in detail at the results of the consultation on members’ views over further industrial action, which it requested at its last meeting.
With few exceptions, branches responding said that members were not willing to take further action – either ‘all out’ or selective. The committee therefore decided not to call for further action and to accept the recommendation of the trade union side and seek binding arbitration.
Informal discussions have been held with ACAS and they will start the process, which will involve an independent arbitrator, in the near future. We believe that we can show that the cost of living, local government finances and the poor position of local government workers in the public sector pay league table will provide solid evidence for an improved award.
This is obviously not the outcome which UNISON hoped for. However, the employers have not been willing to improve their offer and we believe that members’ pay increase for 2008/9 needs to be resolved and paid as quickly as possible.
The review of this year’s action and negotiations and our bargaining power will kick off at the next NJC Committee. The aim is to create a stronger union presence in local government and ensure that our lay democracy functions well. This is essential if we are to be able to negotiate from a position of strength at all levels and ensure a forceful presence in every council and at the NJC bargaining table.
Green Book negotiations
The 2007/8 settlement included an agreement to undertake a ‘nothing ruled in and nothing ruled out’ review of the Green Book. The employers have been keen to start the review, but the unions have made it clear that we will expect additional funding to underpin it and there has been no progress to date. The employers’ offer for 2008/9 therefore included the objective of completing the review by December 2008.
The joint secretaries have discussed the review. As reflected in the framework for the negotiations above, UNISON and the other unions have sought to establish what funding – if any – is available for improvements, what information is available on the pay bill and the workforce to underpin the negotiations and what the employers’ objectives are. So far little progress has been made.
There is currently no additional funding available and the unions have made it clear that we expect improvements which would bring our members’ conditions at least up to the level of other groups of public sector workers.
The NJC committee considered a proposed list of trade union side objectives for any future review. This will be considered further at the next meeting on 14 November 2008. In the meantime, UNISON has been conducting two branch surveys to establish exactly what members’ current conditions are, to inform any future negotiations.
A very big ‘thank you’ goes to the 82% of local government branches who responded to the survey on working hours and unsocial hours payments. A copy of the results of that survey is included in the Pay News sent to local government branches and the information will be invaluable in showing the scope for improvements in the negotiations. We are currently carrying out a further survey of car allowances and special leave.
Please respond to the second survey. We need the facts to counteract any fiction coming from the employers and to ensure we negotiate for the things you need when any review starts. And please give us any ideas your branch has for possible improvements.
Pay claim for 2009/10
The NJC Committee considered a background paper on the current situation underlying pay increases and other agreements and agreed that we should submit a claim to the employers as soon as possible for pay from 2009/10. This will be considered by the full joint trade union side of the NJC when it meets on 1 October.
It was agreed that we should aim to finalise the claim at the full trade union side of the NJC on 3 November. Branches will therefore be asked to give views on the claim to a tighter timescale than usual, but we hope that you understand that we want to submit the claim as quickly as possible in line with Conference decisions.
Let’s work together…
The union realises that these are tough times for our members facing rising living costs, who took action to secure a higher pay offer. We are doing everything we can to make sure that you all receive a pay rise – and hopefully a higher one than offered – as soon as possible. In the meantime, branches are asked to help members facing hardship as a consequence of the dispute by use of branch industrial action funds. Other hardship claims can be referred to UNISON Welfare.
The way forward for local government
(01/09/08) Trade unions and local government employers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales have confirmed their aim to resolve the current dispute over pay “as soon as possible”.
In a joint statement issued today to all council chief executives, they reaffirmed that all parties were committed to negotiations that aimed to secure an employment package “which is fit for the future, with positive industrial relations, high quality and efficient local services”.
And they pledged to work together “to identify ways of using general efficiency savings to improve the pay and conditions of the local government workforce”.
The statement has been signed by all the NJC joint secretaries. It provides the framework for further discussions and holds out hopes that a revised national agreement will have been endorsed by both sides and consulted on by the end of this year.
“The revised national agreement will include core conditions of service that bear comparison with conditions elsewhere in the public sector,” it says.
Negotiations will be informed by data on the pay bill, workforce composition, earnings and conditions of service.
Unions and employers agree way forward
(13/08/08) Trade unions and local government employers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales have confirmed they will meet again next week to continue negotiations on pay and conditions.
Talks reopened yesterday with an initial meeting to set the timetable and agenda for the way forward.
UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield, who is also the joint union side secretary, said the talks were “an initial meeting” to “kick off National Joint Council negotiations in the context of the agreed statement with the Local Government Association. The meeting focussed on the timetable and process for the talks, which will continue on 22 August.”
The joint statement between UNISON, Unite and the employers which paved the way for the talks had said that a “new era of employment is needed to reflect properly the contribution of the workforce” to improving services and meeting the needs of their local communities.
The statement went on: “to secure this new settlement, the partners are committed to immediate serious and meaningful negotiations over a range of issues”, including the joint union pay claim and a review of conditions of service, with “nothing ruled in or out”. The talks will aim for proposals “that recognise the aspirations of the workforce in the context of the financial position of local government”.
Negotiations will continue on 22 August, and Ms Wakefield added: “Arrangements are being made for meetings of the UNISON and trade union sides of the NJC executive for next week, prior to the next meeting with the employers. Further updates will be sent to branches and posted on the UNISON web site.”
Joint Statement: National Employers for local government services, Unison and Unite 24 July 2008
Dear Colleague, LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES PAY NEGOTIATIONS The following statement has been issued today on behalf of the National Employers and UNISON and Unite:
Local government unions UNISON and Unite, and the National Employers, in the context of the current dispute on the 2008 pay settlement, agree that a new era of employment is needed to reflect properly the contribution of the workforce in purview of the NJC to service improvements and the future needs of local people. Therefore, to secure this new settlement, the partners are committed to immediate serious and meaningful negotiations over a range of issues, including those in the trade union claim this year and a full review of the national conditions of service. These discussions will be on the basis of nothing ruled in or out and will aim to conclude with early proposals that recognise the aspirations of the workforce in the context of the financial position of local government.Both the National Employers and UNISON and Unite will enter into these negotiations constructively with the aim of securing an employment package which is fit for the future with positive industrial relations, high quality and efficient local services and resolves the current dispute”The agreed talks are scheduled to begin on Wednesday 13 August.
All out on 16 and 17 July
(03/07/08) Members have said ‘No’ to the employers’ offer. Every branch and every member now needs to work very hard to deliver a massive turnout to get the employers back to the negotiating table.
UNISON does not take the decision to ballot for strike action lightly. We are aware that many members are facing difficult times with prices riding high. That is why we need every member to participate in the action to get an improvement to the insulting offer. What action will we take? There will be an initial two days of all-out action on 16 and 17 July. This will be followed by further action if the employers won’t budge, but more of that later. What needs to be done? There is a tight timetable for the action, so every branch and every member needs to switch into action immediately to show the employers we mean business. This means:
- Letting members and non-members know that the strike is going ahead
- Talking to them about why the offer is not acceptable
- Getting your regional NJC reps to come and speak at your branch meeting
- Telling members why they need to take action on 16 and 17 July if they want any chance of an improved offer
- Recruiting non-members to UNISON and showing them we are fighting for their pay
- Working with members of Unite and campaigning together for a successful two days of action
- Talking to GMB members and getting their support for the action
What will be done at a Head Office? We will:
- Send a letter to your councillors and MPs explaining why the offer must be improved
- Push the employers to reopen negotiations on the pay offer
- Lobby the Local Government Association, who make the decisions on your pay offer
- Let them know that 2.45% or 3.3% for the lowest paid is below inflation and not enough for our members to keep up with living costs
- Tell them that the ‘string’ in the offer which could set pay until 2011 is not acceptable
- Run a high profile media campaign to get our case across to the public
Don’t forget… Members employed on NJC conditions in other employers need to be involved too – particularly those members in private companies, community and voluntary sector employees, grant maintained and foundation schools. Recruit and organise! Every branch has to involve non-members and get them to join in our dispute on pay. A recruitment leaflet has been despatched. Make sure you use the pay campaign as the basis for boosting UNISON’s bargaining power. The more of us there are, the more the employers will listen!
Why should I strike?
(02/07/08) UNISON’s local government members in England, Northern Ireland and Wales voted ‘Yes’ for a sustained and escalating programme of strike action over this year’s pay offer. The first 48-hour walkout will go ahead on 16 and 17 July. Make sure you’re there. By supporting the strike, you can send a clear message to the employers that pay is an issue that will not go away. Why should I strike? Inflation is still rising and is set to continue. The 2.45% pay offer is already a pay cut. So is the 3.3% for the lowest paid. Food is up 6%, transport 7%, mortgages 8%, electricity and gas 15%. Pay in the private sector is rising by 4%. I don’t agree with the pay offer – but why strike action? You are doing more for less. Pay rises have been below inflation for five years. It’s time to take a stand against low pay. Is my pay really that bad? Local government workers have the worst pay and conditions in the public sector. Three-quarters of the workforce are women, but there’s a 40% gap between part-time women’s and full-time men’s hourly pay. A 2.45% pay rise will have a damaging effect on women’s pay and would widen the gap between local government pay and rest of economy too. Shouldn’t I be more worried about losing my job through ‘efficiencies’? We know jobs are being lost. The union will fight to protect them. But we need to make a stand on pay now to protect your standard of living and show that we value what we do for local communities – even if the employers don’t. Can local government employers afford to pay more? Local government has saved money through efficiencies delivered by you but is not sharing the benefits with you. Councils can’t afford not to pay and treat you better if they want continuous improvement in service delivery.
Non-schools reserves total £11,605 billion – their highest-ever level, having more than doubled since 2002. During this time you have received below-inflation pay awards.
According to a recent update, local authorities in England alone are reporting cashable gains of £763 million by the end of the 2007/08 financial year – none of which has been invested in our members providing services.
At the same time, council tax has fallen in real terms by 0.3% this year – for the first time since 1994. But the government won’t change its pay policy – will it? Pressure made the government find £2.7billion to rescue people hit by scrapping the 10p tax band. It can change its mind again. And we’ve already told the employers that it’s ‘no deal’. The low pay offer is only for one year. Wouldn’t it be better to ride it out? You need to take action now. Pay settlements have been low for the past five years. While this offer is for one year, the government wants three-year deals. The employers have said that they want to settle pay for 2009 and 2010 and review your conditions by December 2008; they aren’t going to get much higher. Will l lose pay when I’m on strike? Your employer won’t pay you and there won’t be strike pay, but branches do have discretion to help members with hardship payments for those who need it most. Can I really afford to strike? Money is so tight at the moment. We know it’s a tough decision. But doing nothing now will mean even more hardship next year. Your pay is not keeping up with price rises. Will my employer pick on me? You aren’t alone. UNISON has over 600,000 members in local government and other employers delivering services for councils. If we stand together, they can’t pick us off. And they’ll know we mean business. I’m not a member but I want to strike. Non-members can join the union at any time, and can still take part in the action.
Council strikes confirmed
(27/06/08) UNISON’s industrial action committee has today confirmed that local government strike action will go ahead on 16 and 17 July in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Throughout the union and across the country our members working in local government have given sustained strike action the green light,” said UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis.
The action affects 600,000 of the union’s local government members, including social workers, librarians, school meals workers, refuse collectors, surveyors and teaching assistants.
They will walk out to protest this year’s below-inflation pay offer of 2.45%.
“This decision has not been taken lightly, but years of pay cuts and recent hikes in fuel, food and housing costs has left them with little choice,” Mr Prentis continued.
“The employers must realise that we mean business. They must also understand they can resolve this dispute by coming up with a decent offer. Our members are loyal public service workers and our case for fair pay is strong.”
The government’s Office of National Statistics’ own figures show that Retail Price Index inflation reached 4.3% in May. In the same month, the CPI measure of inflation, which the government uses to set its inflation target, hit 3.3%
- Local government workers in Scotland are being balloted in July on taking strike action after rejecting a three-year offer worth 2.5% in each year.
Local government NJC pay dispute 2008 – ballot result
24 June 2008 – Email message from Dave Prentis England, Northern Ireland and Wales local government branches. Scotland and other branches, for information only
We have now received the results of the two recent ballots of members over your pay offer. They are shown below. Local government branch members will receive a copy of the relevant ballot result in the post. In the meantime, please forward this email on to as many members of your branch as possible.
Members were asked if they were prepared to take industrial action in the form of strike action in support of a pay claim of 6% or 50 pence per hour, whichever is the greater. Ballot result 1: directly-employed NJC members (eg, local authorities, Fire and Rescue Service, National Parks)
Number of votes cast: 151,000
Number answering “yes” to the question: 83,347
Number answering “no” to the question: 67,653
Number of spoiled voting papers: 593 Ballot result 2: those conditioned to NJC pay and conditions (eg, members in private companies, community and voluntary sector and other employers)
Number of votes cast: 4,859
Number answering “yes” to the question: 2,634
Number answering “no” to the question: 2,225
Number of spoiled voting papers: 5
The Industrial Action Committee will take a final decision on whether to proceed with action when it meets on 27 June. The decision of the Industrial Action Committee will be emailed to Regions and branches on Friday afternoon and put on the union’s websites. If action is to proceed, the strike days will be 16 and 17 July but to check whether action is being taken you should:
- Ask your steward and/or branch
- Check the union website www.unison.org.uk
- Telephone UNISONdirect 0845 355 0845
- Look on notice
- Look out for written material distributed by branches
In the event that the decision is to take industrial action, the Union will be asking you to work with our members on NJC pay everywhere – with the support of the whole union – to make any such action a huge success and get the employers back to the negotiating table. However, please take no action unless and until you are called upon to do so.
Whatever the decision, UNISON will be putting all its resources into making sure that members on NJC pay and conditions – the worst in the public sector – will be supported to secure a better deal. Please support your union.
Local government workers demand fair car rates
(12/06/08) UNISON is demanding that local government employers reopen talks on car allowances, given recent hikes in the cost of petrol and diesel.
Council staff who use their cars for work are subsidising their employers by making up the shortfall between their mileage allowance and the cost of fuel.
The AA estimated in March that it costs 58p per mile to run a small family car – almost 20p a mile less than the allowance.
The call for action comes as UNISON is balloting nearly 900,000 local government members across the UK for strike action over below-inflation pay offers.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, local government workers have been offered 2.45%. In Scotland the offer is 2.5% for each of the next three years, with no reopener clause.
Heather Wakefield, UNISON head of local government, points out that UNISON members can ill afford to subsidise their employers.
“Our members have not received an increase in their mileage allowance but the money they have to spend to pay for their cars has skyrocketed.
“Local government staff are worst placed to cope with these extra costs. After putting up with 10 years of below-inflation pay deals, they have another miserly offer on the table.
“Many of our members are lying awake at night, worrying about which red bill to pay next. They are fed up of constantly being last on the list; it is time the employers listened to common sense.”
Vote now. Vote Yes.
UNISON is balloting local government members in England, Northern Ireland and Wales for industrial action over this year’s pay offer.
We want to break the government’s unjust pay proposals, so it’s vital as many members as possible have their say – and that they vote Yes.
Only a high turnout with clear backing for action will persuade the employers to come back to the negotiating table.
Members should have received their ballot papers by now. Anyone who has not and thinks they should have done can call the strike ballot hotline for help.
Call UNISONdirect on 0845 355 0845, textphone 0800 0 967 968, from 6am to midnight Monday to Friday and 9pm to 4pm on Saturday.
Alternatively, you can request a replacement ballot paper online. The ballot ends on 20 June, so please make sure that you do everything possible to encourage your colleagues to vote. Why should I vote yes to strike action? Your questions answered.
Where does your MP stand on pay? Get your MP to sign the early day motion on public service pay
For more information, including campaign materials go to Local Government Pay Matters
Let’s show the employers we mean business
UNISON is urging every branch and every member to push hard to deliver a clear ‘yes’ vote for strike action to improve this year’s NJC pay offer for England, Northern Ireland and Wales – rejected by members in the recent consultative ballot.
Unless there is a high turnout and a very clear mandate for strike action, the employers will not even reopen negotiations.
UNISON does not take the decision to ballot for strike action lightly and we are aware that many members are facing difficult times with prices riding high. That is why we need as many members as possible as possible to vote so that we have a very clear idea of members’ wishes and can organise effective action.
To see the results of the consultative ballot click here. What action will we take? The NJC committee has decided that in order to move the employers, there will need to be an initial two consecutive days of all-out action. This will be followed by further and escalating all-out action of more than two days. What needs to be done? There is a tight timetable for the ballot, so every branch and every member needs to switch into action immediately to show the employers we mean business. This means:
- let members know the ballot is going ahead
- talk to them about why the offer is not acceptable
- get your regional NJC reps to come and speak at your branch meeting
- tell members why they need to vote ‘yes’ to action if they want an improved offer
- recruit non-members to UNISON and show them we are fighting for their pay
- talk to members of TGWU-UNITE and GMB and campaign together
- lobby your councillors and MPs over the offer
- let them know that 2.45% or 3.3% for the lowest paid is below inflation and not enough for our members’ to keep up with living costs
- tell them that the ‘string’ in the offer which could set pay until 2011 is not acceptable
Timetable We will notify employers of our intention to ballot members around 23 May. The ballot papers will be despatched to members on 30 May. The ballot will close on 20 June. The first two consecutive days of action will take place in the first three weeks of July. The dates will be notified soon. Don’t forget… Members employed on NJC conditions in other employers need to be involved too – particularly those in private companies, the community and voluntary sector, and grant-maintained and foundation schools. GMB and Unite TGWU-Unite has voted to reject the employers’ offer by 3:1 and is preparing to conduct a strike ballot of its members. GMB is still consulting its members and the results won’t be known until early June. It is vital that all branches work closely with colleagues from other unions to deliver a strong campaign. Recruit and organise! This is a golden opportunity for branches to involve non-members and get them to join in our campaign on pay. Download the Catch up and match up recruitment leaflet here. All campaign materials are available on the recent documents section of the Pay Matters website.
Employers make improved and final offer – consultation begins
At its meeting on 8 April 2008, the UNISON NJC Committee agreed to hold a formal consultation under the Service Group Pay Consultation Procedures on the Local Government Employers’ (LGE) 2008/9 NJC pay offer, which is as follows: The Offer: 1. An increase of 2.45% on all scale points from scale point 7 inclusive, giving a rate of £6.55 on scale point 7
2. An additional flat rate increase of £100 on scale points 4,5, and 6 – giving an increase of 3.3% and pay rates of £6.20, £6.28 and £6.37 per hour on those scale points
3. The NJC will seek to conclude the review of the Green Book agreed as part of the 2007-8 settlement by 31 December 2008
4. The NJC will seek to reach agreement on the pay awards for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 by 31 December 2008 The employers made it clear that their revised offer was final and there were no circumstances under which they were prepared to negotiate an improvement to it. Background to the offer Once again, this year’s negotiations have been extremely difficult. The offer does break through the Government’s 2% public sector pay limit, but still falls short of the real cost of living increases our members are facing. It does not tackle the differences between NJC pay rates and higher ones elsewhere in the public sector.
In making their improved offer, the employers said that:
‘Affordability’ has been the key determinant of the increase councils are prepared to offer
The Comprehensive Spending Review settlement for councils for the next three years is around 2%. Any pay award above 2% would require an unacceptable increase in council tax
Councils will already be drawing on their efficiency savings to pay for that element of the offer above 2%
The offer reflects the Consumer Price Index and the Government’s public sector pay policy
The LGE has agreed to send us a written response to our claim.
NJC Committee’s response to the offer
The NJC Committee’s recommendation is to reject the employers’ offer. However, in doing so, the NJC Committee is informing members that only substantial, all-out strike action, starting with two days of consecutive strike action and escalating to further consecutive action of more than two could bring the employers back to negotiations.
The NJC Committee does not believe that the pay elements of the offer compensate for the current increase in our members’ cost of living. Neither do they address the gap with the increase in average earnings across the economy or with other parts of the public sector. However, it is clear that the employers will not even return to the negotiating table without substantial, all-out industrial action. The NJC Committee is prepared to accept point 3 of the offer, as the review was agreed as part of last year’s settlement and there are a number of outstanding improvements to conditions which we wish to negotiate upon. Branches and members will be consulted on other conditions they may wish to see improved once pay is settled. The NJC Committee and the other unions are prepared to seek to agree the 2009 pay settlement by 31 December 2008 (point 4). This is consistent with Service Group policy. However, we do not agree with the additional link to pay for 2010. GMB and UNITE
The GMB and UNITE will be formally considering their response to the offer at meetings due to take place on 24 April and 15 April respectively. In the meantime, we are starting a full consultation of as many UNISON members as possible on the offer.