Local government workers consulted over pay

Members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have their say on claim, while Scottish council workers vote on action over employers’ offer

Local government branches in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are being consulted over the pay claim for the next pay round.

It will cover hundreds of thousands of members in the three countries whose pay and conditions are negotiated at the national joint council for local government, or NJC.

The claim will be submitted jointly with other unions in June. UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield called on members to make sure they give their views on the proposed claim to their branches in time for responses to be collated by the union’s regions on 26 May.

Scotland’s local government workers are being balloted over potential industrial action in pursuit of their claim for a flat rate increase of £1,000 a year for all council staff.

The ballot opened on 11 May and closes on 30 May. A ballot helpline on 0800 0 858 857 will run from 17 May to 25 May.

The union is calling for a vote for industrial action and for every member to vote as the ballot is governed by the new Trade Union Act which requires that at least 50% of eligible members take part for any industrial action to be legal.

The union points out that pay is worth far less now than 10 years ago after years of pay restraint and inflation. This means that local government workers are seeing their living standards squeezed as the prices of food, gas and electricity, travel, food and childcare continue to rise.

The industrial action ballot comes after a consultative ballot of affected members in Scotland, saw them reject an employers’ final offer of:

  • a £350 flat-rate increase for everyone earning less than £35,000 a year – pro rata based on a 37-hour week;
  • a 1% increase for those earning £35,000 or more;
  • the Scottish local government living wage to be the minimum pay for all pay;
  • allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances, which will be pensionable.