2004 NJC England, Wales and Northern Ireland Pay Claim – What a Difference Two Years Can Make

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2004 Local Government Service Group Conference
25 February 2004

This Conference agrees to submit the following motion on behalf of the South East Region to the 2004 Local Government Conference.

This Conference notes that in 2002 hundreds of thousands of UNISON members took strike action in support of a pay claim which called for a flat rate increase of £1750 or 6%, whichever was the greater. The claim was designed to “catch up and match up” in order to bridge the gap between local government pay and that in the private and rest of the public sector. The claim, by concentrating on pay and the low paid, was able to motivate UNISON members and delivered a one day strike which was the largest ever strike of women workers in thiscountry. Yet, two years later with a similar rate of inflation as in 2002, and the continuing scandal of low pay effecting our members the NJC for England, Wales and Northern Ireland has submitted a claim for 4% plus £200 plus a whole range of service conditions improvements.

The main reason for the change in direction by the National Local Government Committee between 2002 and 2004 is the objective of avoiding industrial action and avoiding an adverse effect on the Labour Party in the elections that are taking place on the 10 June. It is clear that the National Local Government Committee is putting the interests of the Labour Party before the interests of UNISON members. The claim is about the Labour Government Agenda, not UNISON’s agenda.

This Conference instructs the National Local Government Committee to submit a pay claim in 2005 that reflects the real interests of UNISON members, which addresses the issue of low pay, which is able to unite the membership and is capable of mobilising the membership to take effective industrial action to win a real improvement in living conditions. 2004 was a wasted opportunity.