- 2015 Local Government Service Group Conference
- 19 February 2015
Conference reaffirms its view that sector-wide collective bargaining – not Regional or local – is best placed to deliver decent pay and conditions, and equality.
It is also the best way to ensure that local government employment reflects our vision for universal and equal public services and deals with the issues arising out of cuts, restructuring, development of combined authorities and City regions, as well as the devolution agenda, which is gathering pace within local government. Sector wide bargaining is also the best way to ensure solidarity and collective action within UNISON and with other unions in local government.
1)Councils are reorganising services and trying to do more for less. In many cases, they fail to revise job descriptions or to re-evaluate jobs. Members are therefore at risk of being underpaid for extra and more complex work;
2)Local government workers fare worse than other public sector groups, in terms of pay, conditions and training. However, they are increasingly required to co-operate with other groups on more favourable pay and conditions through shared services, integrated working and marketisation.
Conference deplores the Local Government Association (LGA)’s continuing policy to negotiate over pay only and devolve negotiations over conditions to council level, undermining the effect of a sector-wide collective agreement. The LGA also continues actively to encourage local attacks on pay and conditions and chip away at job evaluation. A recent example is the LGA/Public Service People Manager’s Association (PPMA)/Mercer toolkit on job design and performance, which advocates simplified job design and linking pay to performance.
The National Joint Council (NJC) Job Evaluation (JE) Technical Working Group has ensured the oversight and development of the NJC JE scheme and associated guidance and job profiles. This needs to be recognised as a necessary and ongoing part of the NJC bargaining machinery.
Our work to secure new and more effective bargaining machinery must run alongside increased activity to significantly increase our membership and density and organise for workplace strength. It must also reflect the trends identified in current and future service delivery and local government re-organisation.
Conference calls on the Service Group Executive to:-
a)Work closely with branches and Regions to develop local campaigns to retain and enhance Green Book conditions;
b)Ensure a recruitment and organising dimension to the proposed work;
c)Produce UNISON and joint NJC guidance for councils on effective collective bargaining and the benefits of sector-wide bargaining;
d)Continue to develop training for activists and paid officials and technical advice to promote equal pay and equality proofed pay structures and equip local and Regional negotiators to spot and counter discrimination and inequality arising from local government cuts and restructuring.
e)Continue to campaign for equality in pay and conditions across the public sector and for the Living Wage to be the minimum pay point in local government.