Unions reject ‘disappointing’ council pay offer

Initial 2% offer from employers falls far short


The three unions representing council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have today (Wednesday) rejected the 2% initial pay offer made by the local government employers.

Last summer UNISON, GMB and Unite – which between them have more than a million local government members – submitted the pay claim for 2020/21.

If the unions’ claim is accepted, this would mean that £10 an hour would be the lowest rate for council staff from this April. Everyone else would receive a 10% wage rise.

The three unions have now called on the local government employers to think again and come up with a better offer so talks can continue as soon as possible.

Commenting on the talks, UNISON head of local government Jon Richards said: “Council staff run vital local services at the heart of communities across the three nations. They’ve done this through thick and thin, as cuts and redundancies have made their jobs ever more challenging. Today’s offer is more than disappointing.

“It’s high time teaching assistants, care workers, librarians and park keepers were rewarded for their sterling efforts during the difficult decade of austerity.

“The chancellor must give councils the cash in the Budget to fund a proper pay rise. Otherwise experienced staff will be lost as they seek better paid work elsewhere and there’ll be barely anyone left to deliver local services.”

GMB National Secretary Rehana Azam said:“This offer does nothing to address the decade of savage cuts our members have suffered – their wages have been devalued by 22% over the past ten years. It’s a no from GMB.

“This is Johnson’s first test on how his government will treat public sector workers and the offer tabled today is woefully short of a proper decent wage. Local government workers are the backbone of our communities; overwhelmingly part-time and female.

“We demand a proper negotiation, in good faith, that restores public sector workers’ confidence that Johnson and his new MPs – many who represent public sector workers – value the vital services they provide.

“The election is over and soundbites are worthless unless words are followed by deeds.”

Unite national officer Ian Woodland said: “The local government pay offer is deeply disappointing. It does not begin to address the aspirations of our members.

“Following a decade of austerity, during which their pay in real terms has been slashed, local government members will not accept an offer which makes them poorer in real terms.

“Local government unions are now seeking a fresh meeting to allow employers to table a dramatically improved offer.”

Notes to editors:
– The National Joint Council negotiates the pay of the vast majority of local government workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
– Negotiations took place today 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: press@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