Local government trade unions today accepted a pay offer that will see hundreds of thousands of workers, over 350,000 of whom are UNISON members, paid an extra £1,925 this year, equating to a 10.5% increase for the lowest-paid workers.
UNISON, GMB and Unite make up the trade union side of the national joint council (NJC) that negotiates pay for the majority of local government workers. After consulting their members over the last two months, the unions met today and agreed to accept the offer from the employer, the Local Government Association (LGA).
The award is the highest offered to NJC workers in over a decade with local government workers bearing years of below inflation pay offers and pay freezes which have seen them lose over 25% from the value of their pay since 2010.
It will be backdated to 1 April 2022 and averages out to around 7% across the pay spine with the flat rate seeing those at the bottom of the spine (the lowest paid) receive a 10.5% increase with those at the top, just over 4%.
It also includes a 4% increase to allowances, backdated to 1 April 2022, with a one day increase to the annual leave of all employees coming into effect on 1 April 2023 and the removal of the bottom pay-point on the same date.
While this offer almost meets the government’s target of the minimum wage hitting two-thirds of median earning by 2024 (estimated to be around £10.70), it means the bottom three points on the pay scale will still fall below the Foundation Living Wage rate of £10.90.
Speaking of the pay deal, UNISON national secretary for local government Mike Short said: “UNISON members voted clearly to accept this pay offer, and it will come as a welcome relief to many of our members – particularly those who are lower-paid – that it has been agreed before the holiday period.
“Our immediate priority, now, is to get the money into the pay packets of workers as soon as possible, to help deal with the rapidly rising cost of living and move into the next pay round.
“We know there is much more to do, as this pay settlement is still below inflation and we will be looking to submit a pay claim for 2023 as soon as practically possible, so the employers have no excuse for delaying making an offer, next year.
“We will be expecting that offer to meet our members’ needs and address the massive pressure they are facing due to the rate of inflation.”