Local government employers accused of creating “unnecessary” pay delay

The three unions representing council workers have today (Wednesday) expressed disappointment at the local government employers’ failure to make them a pay offer – more than six months after they submitted this year’s wages claim.

UNISON, GMB and Unite – which between them have more than a million local government members across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – are critical of what they see as unnecessary delays to the process.

The unions want the employers to hurry up and make an offer, and have already written to Chancellor Sajid Javid urging him to ensure that local authorities have the funds to meet the unions’ pay claim for 2020/21.

In a joint statement the three unions say:

“The unions are astounded to hear that the local government employers – who met on 21 January – still have not made the local government workforce a pay offer. The unions were expecting that one would be made in response to the pay claim submitted back in July.

“The pay talks have already been delayed due to the general election. While we welcome the employers’ commitment to meet in early February, the extra delay of a couple of weeks is unnecessary and unhelpful.

“The joint union message to employers is simple. We submitted our joint union pay claim well in advance of the pay timeline and don’t understand why they can’t make an offer now instead of further delaying pay talks.

“We urge them to make an opening offer, get around the table and start pay negotiations immediately.

“In the meantime, the three unions representing local government workers have written to the chancellor setting out why it’s essential the Treasury fully funds a substantial pay rise for the more than one million local government workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Notes to editors:
– The National Joint Council negotiates the pay of the vast majority of local government workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The three unions involved are UNISON, GMB and Unite.
– The unions submitted their pay claim for 2020 (to take effect on 1 April 2020) in July 2019. The claim is for £10 an hour for the lowest paid council staff and a 10% pay increase for everyone else. Negotiations are due to take place between the unions and the local government employers, made up of representatives of local authorities supported by the Local Government Association.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: l.chinchen@unison.co.uk
GMB press office M: 07958 156846 E: press.office@gmb.org.uk
Barckley Sumner T: 0203 371 2067 M: 07802 329235 E: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org