NJC pay claim and campaign 2018 onwards

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2017 Local Government Service Group Conference
23 February 2017

Conference welcomes the National Joint Council (NJC) committee’s decision to lodge the 2018 pay claim early so our pay aspirations are clear to the Local Government Association (LGA) during the negotiations on the review of the NJC/GLPC pay spines.

Conference condemns the UK government’s continuing refusal to give public service workers, and particularly local government staff, a decent pay rise. The continuation of the government’s 1% pay policy is causing enormous hardship for many NJC members, who are also facing exit payment caps, National Insurance increases, further attacks on conditions and additional local pay restraint within some councils. The fall in the pound is giving rise to higher inflation, which is predicted to rise beyond 3% by the end of 2017.

Conference notes the NJC/GLPC pay spines review might present an opportunity to improve pay outside of the government’s 1% pay public sector pay limit, if it could be funded as a ‘technical’ exercise. There are also moves within Department of Work and Pensions to loosen pay restraint. However, as conference knows, local government funding is in crisis and any additional funding will have to be very carefully justified and fought for.

Increasing the bottom of the NJC spine to around £9 an hour, with decent and proportionate increases above the National Living Wage level and a ‘cleaned up’ pay spine, will be costly. Councils are likely to say it is not affordable in one year.

Conference believes we need a dual campaign for more funding for future pay increases above 1% and the pay spine review. The current situation calls for:

1) A union-wide campaign calling for an end to public sector pay restraint;

2) An NJC campaign, based on a claim for 2018 -19, which demonstrates our determination to achieve our pay aspirations to the LGA and highlights low pay in local government and schools to the public;

3) A widespread political campaign to get recognition of the need and support for additional funding for NJC pay and the pay spine review.

Conference instructs the service group executive and the NJC committee to develop from autumn 2017:

a) An ongoing political campaign to highlight poor NJC pay and conditions among councillors, MPs, the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet;

b) A high profile press, social media and media campaign alongside this;

c) A coalition of ‘local government’ and education bodies to support a call for the DCLG Select Committee to hold an inquiry into NJC pay and conditions;

d) Materials for branches and regions to be able to confidently raise the issue of NJC pay locally and lobby for funding.