Regional and local pay threats

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2013 National Delegate Conference
4 February 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference notes with concern the continued attempts by the Coalition government at Westminster to break up national pay bargaining in the public services with attempts to introduce local and regional pay. Conference welcomes the fact that active campaigning has deterred some of the immediate threats through the pay review body system but threats remain, not least in the NHS pay cartel in the south west of England but also in other public bodies opting out. It is becoming clear that pay fragmentation is Coalition policy linking in with the marketisation and privatisation of public services, for example academy schools in England.

Conference reaffirms that regional pay is unequal and unfair for staff and bad for local economies as it will cut wages in areas already hard hit by the recession, cuts and austerity policies. Conference notes that many large businesses do not operate a Regional pay approach as it is bureaucratic and inefficient and that national collective agreements are efficient and fair in public, voluntary and private sectors.

Conference welcomes the hard hitting TUC and UNISON campaign of 2012 putting pressure on local members of parliament to oppose regional pay plans. UNISON commissioned research from IDS has demolished many of the myths spread by free market think tanks and economists. This resulted in the Chancellor stepping back from promoting his regional pay plans in his Autumn Statement on the 5 December 2012. However there has now been a fresh attack on school teachers pay by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP, who announced that he intends future annual pay scale increments to be discretionary, individualised and in the control of local managers.

Conference salutes the UNISON members in the South West of England, and all others who have supported them, in continuing to oppose the NHS pay cartel to break the Agenda for Change agreement and commits to continue to give its full support to the Health Service group in this campaign.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to:

1)continue the national campaign, working with service groups and regions, to oppose Coalition plans for regional and local public sector pay systems and further fragmentation of Public Sector pay;

2)promote the benefits of national collective bargaining as securing fair and equal pay for the greatest number of employees;

3)continue to support the Health service group and South West region in their campaign against the NHS pay cartel;

4)work with the GPF and Labour Link to build political support for these positions so that no political party has regional pay plans in their manifesto at the 2015 general election.