Northern Ireland members begin to vote on pay offer

Thousands of UNISON members working in local government and schools in Northern Ireland are being given an opportunity to have their say on pay.

Between 23 May and 22 June, they will be receiving details on the pay offer from NJC employers and have the opportunity to vote on it.

Trade unions are urging rejection of the offer.

“UNISON is pointing out to our members that they are worth more than 1%,” explained regional organiser Brian Ferguson.

“Never mind the fact that the bottom pay points rates have had to be lifted by more than 1% to avoid falling below the minimum wage, the rates are still by far the lowest in the public sector and below the living wage of £7.45 per hour.”

He noted that UNISON, together with other unions involved, is asking members to stand up for better pay and support a call to industrial action.

“So far central negotiators for the employer’s side have been unwilling to contemplate a deal which would go some way to restoring the 20% real loss since 2010 in the value of NJC pay rates,” said Mr Ferguson.

“Across the UK, some half a million are still below the living wage, and some 50,000 are paid just 30p above the minimum wage.”

Mr Ferguson went on to say that: “While there is additional jurisdiction within the devolved budget of the department of education to address continuing low NJC pay rates, overall pay levels will have to be lifted by a decent increase.”

Action is expected to take place on 10 July and will involve staff in education and library boards and local councils.

Staff in schools staff will be asked to take action in September.

Key issue: local government pay

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