National Joint Council (NJC) Pay Campaign

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2014 Local Government Service Group Conference
1 January 2014

Conference notes with concern that local government workers pay is falling behind other public and private sector workers.

Many local authorities are trying to move away from NJC pay and conditions which could lead to regional or local pay. If this happens it is likely to divide UNISON members and further erode pay and conditions. Currently Local government pay is the lowest in the public sector – from the bottom to the top of the NJC pay scales. For most Local Government workers pay has fallen by 18% after inflation since 2010, while over the same period, the cost of living has increased; and all members see the cost of utility bills and basic essentials soaring.

Conference notes that local government workers have been offered 1% for most members, which is still a pay cut in real terms. Conference welcomes the NJC committee’s recommendation in the consultative ballot to reject this insult of an offer. Conference recognises that it is likely to take sustained industrial action to win this campaign, however conference would encourage the NJC committee to consider selective and action short of strike action as part of any campaign.

Conference also notes that there is likely to be action in other parts of the public sector and wherever possible we should seek to coordinate actions with other sectors of UNISON and other unions e.g. UNISON Higher Education and the National Union of Teachers.

2014 must be the year that UNISON’s pay campaign strikes a chord with our members who are struggling to make ends meet and are resorting to food banks and pay day lenders in order to survive.

UNISON must lead the way in encouraging members to take the pay campaign seriously against a back drop of fears over job cuts and attacks to terms and conditions engendered by the Coalition Government’s swingeing cuts to council funding.

Conference, in response we call upon the Service Group Executive to:

1) Promote the benefits of the NJC for pay.

2) Highlight the dangers of moving towards regional or local pay.

3) Use this as an opportunity to use existing UNISON campaigns such as the “Worth it” campaign to recruit and organise Local Government members around pay.

4) strongly support and campaign with all branches who have fallen short of Green Book conditions, in order to restore these more favourable NJC conditions, where appropriate.

5) Support and encourage regions to coordinate regular activity across branches in support of the 2014 pay campaign to ensure regular events take place to ensure member interest is maintained.

6) Support and encourage branches to use the local press to get the pay campaign message across to the general public.

7) Continue to produce campaign material that branches can use with their members and the public.

8) Encourage branches to campaign jointly with the GMB and UNITE unions across the workplace and set up joint industrial action meetings in event of a yes vote in an industrial action ballot

9) Seek to coordinate any industrial action with other UNISON Service groups and with other trade unions