Breakthrough in Local Government Pay Talks

After a marathon set of negotiations, the three unions in local government – UNISON, GMB and T&G – and the local government employers, have agreed to a set of Acas proposals to recommend to their respective memberships.

Acas has proposed a two-year pay deal, with increases ranging from 7.7% to 10.9% for the lowest paid.

All council workers would receive a 3% increase with a new minimum rate of £5 an hour from 1 April 2002. This would followed by a further 1% rise from 1 October this year, plus another 1% for the lowest two grades. In April, 2003 council workers would receive a pay rise of 3.5% and an additional 1% for the lowest paid. On 1 April, 2003 the lowest paid worker would receive £5.32 an hour, up from the current £4.80, a welcome increase for 284,000 local government workers who are predominantly women.

The national strike planned for August 14 will be suspended while the three unions and the employers consult their respective memberships over the next 6 weeks.

Heather Wakefield (UNISON), Mick Graham (GMB) and Jack Dromey (T&G) said:

ÒThe Acas proposals are the result of many hours of tough negotiation. We believe that the proposals represent a fair deal for local government employees and a strong platform to end low pay and unequal pay.

ÒWe will be taking these proposals to our respective memberships and recommending acceptance. If they are accepted, it will bring an end to this dispute.

ÒThe unions would like to thank the public for their overwhelming support. There is now strong public recognition of the need to tackle the issue of low pay in local government.Ó

The Acas proposals include the setting up of an independently chaired Local Government Pay Commission to address issues of low pay and equal pay for men and women workers in local government which will report back within one year.

Heather Wakefield, Mick Graham and Jack Dromey added:

ÒThis Commission represents a real opportunity to address the long term decline in local government pay and will begin to redress the neglect of the local government workforce.Ó