UNISON is calling on local government employers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to “reconsider” their current pay proposals and come forward with “improved ones which begin to tackle the hardship facing all of our members.”
The call comes in a letter to the Local Government Association’s head of workforce Sarah Messanger, from UNISON’s head of local government Heather Wakefield.
Ms Messanger wrote to council chief executives at the end of last week saying the LGA had made a ‘long-term’ proposal to end the current pay dispute.
This suggested a one off lump-sum payment, and a higher percentage increase from 1 January 2015 to 31 March 2016 and asked unions to call off the next strike action planned for 14 October.
However, it was not a formal offer and had not been signed off by councils.
UNISON’s NJC committee, which represents the affected workers, looked at the proposal, and Ms Wakefield’s letter to the LGA noted that there were “difficult issues facing UNISON’s members and leadership in considering proposals which appear to be aimed at dividing the workforce. I do not believe this would be helpful for any of us.”
Ms Wakefield wrote that the NJC committee “spent a full day considering carefully the revised pay proposals.
“Key to their decision was the lack of a formal proposal not yet agreed by employers.
“Our members needed more certainty in circumstances which would have required UNISON to reballot all our school members and other outsourced members should employers, when consulted, not agree to the repackaged proposals.
“The other key element of concern was that the majority of UNISON members would get less than 1%” this year.
The LGA is due to meet its regional directors on Thursday, when the trade union and management joint secretaries of the NJC negotiating body are also due to meet.
Ahead of the meetings, Ms Wakefield wrote: “I would very sincerely urge you to reconsider the current proposals and come forward with improved ones which begin to tackle the hardship facing all of our members.”