Local government employers have brought forward their meeting to discuss the union pay claim, by six weeks, to 20 March.
UNISON is urging branches and members to “ratchet up the political pressure” on the LGA, by lobbying MPs and councillors.
“We think the LGA’s attitude to the local government workforce is now at an all-time low,” said UNISON national secretary for local government Heather Wakefield.
“Since 2010, our members’ pay has fallen by 18% in real terms. Food, fuel and travel costs are going through the roof and they are in real financial hardship.”
Ms Wakefield said that UNISON understood that the pay claim comes at a time of unprecedented cuts in local government funding by central government.
“However, there are political choices that can be made. Since 2010, the local government pay bill has been reduced by 25% and council reserves have increased to £19 billion. We are told large reserves are needed for investment – some of this must be for investment in staff.”
This week, UNISON emailed all MPs, asking them to lobby the Chancellor to waive the 1% pay limit and to provide councils and schools with funds to make a decent pay offer.
The union also emailed all councillors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, asking them to raise the issue of NJC pay and the employer’s failure to make an offer with their councils.
Ms Wakefield urged all branches to follow suit, by writing to both their local MPs and councillors. They should ask their MP to:
- support the pay claim;
- urge the employers to make a decent offer on pay; and
- lobby the Chancellor to fund it.
Individual union members are also encouraged to write personal letters to their councillors and MPs, asking them to put pressure on the LGA.
“This would give members the opportunity to tell their political representatives about the impact local government cuts are having on their lives, and why they are worth more than 1%,” said Ms Wakefield.
“Members should personalise their letters as much as possible – they will be even more effective.”