Time to fight for a fair pay rise

Local government conference opens in Liverpool with a refusal ‘to be made poorer by this government’

Glen Williams speaking at 2023 LG conference

Delegates at UNISON’s local government conference, which opened in Liverpool yesterday, were urged to vote yes to strike action in the union’s latest ballot, and to encourage other members to do so.

The National Joint Council, which covers council and school workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is calling for a pay increase of inflation plus 2%. The ballot ends on July 4.

Glen Williams, chair of the union’s local government service group executive (pictured), said: “It’s time to rage against inequality and rage against the hypocrisy of the Tory government. It’s time for us to refuse to be made poorer by this government.”

He cited the example of UNISON members in Scotland, who voted for strike action in a Scottish Joint Council ballot last year, after being offered an insulting  2% pay award. After the strike, the initial offer was increased by more than fourfold, an offer which members then accepted.

Delegates at the conference voted for a motion which aims to improve the coordination of pay claims within UNISON.

It calls on the service group executive to ensure that pay claims are submitted in good time so that members receive their pay increase on the settlement date; to call for a £15 an hour minimum wage and to conduct reviews of strike ballots where the 50% turnout threshold has been met in order to learn lessons for future ballots.

They also passed a separate motion calling on the executive to ensure best practise on beating the ballot thresholds.

As one speaker at the conference said: “The government wants public sector workers to pay for the cost of living crisis even though we didn’t cause it.

“Every single union activity needs to focus completely on beating the ballot thresholds. Let’s make the Tories regret they decided to start a fight on pay.”