Unions react to pay offer for council and school staff  

Council and school workers are enduring a major cost of living crisis.

The three unions representing council and school staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have today (Monday) reacted to the £1,925 flat rate pay offer from the local government employers:

UNISON head of education and local government Mike Short said: “Council and school workers are enduring a major cost of living crisis, with inflation running at over 11%. This offer is better than employees might have expected, given the low pay rises of recent years.

“It shows local government employers are beginning to understand the financial nightmare school and council staff are living through. But it’s not enough to make up for a decade and more of lost wages.”

GMB national secretary Rehana Azam said: “Local government and schools workers kept our vital institutions running during the pandemic. Now, like everyone else, they’re being pushed to the brink by the cost-of-living crisis.

“Whilst real terms pay cuts risk exacerbating the staffing crisis, we recognise this is an offer that warrants further scrutiny so we can assess its impact on our members. GMB will now meet with reps and members to discuss the next steps.”

Unite acting national officer Clare Keogh said: “Council workers have already suffered over a decade of below-inflation wage rises and this is another pay cut dressed up as a pay increase.

“The cost-of-living crisis is hitting council workers hard, many already can’t afford to make ends meet, spiralling food costs and energy bills will more than swallow the pay offer being proposed.”

Back in June, UNISON, GMB and Unite submitted a joint claim calling for a pay boost of at least £2,000 for all council and school staff. Unions will now consult with their members over the offer.

Notes to editors:
– The unions’ 2022 claim, which applies from 1 April 2022, would see council and school employees receive either a £2,000 rise or the current rate of RPI (presently 11.8%), whichever is higher. The three unions say ​staff working in local government have seen an average of 27.5% wiped from the value of their pay since 2010.
-The one-year offer from the Local Government Association would see wage increases of between 4% for senior council and school staff, and 10.5% for those on the lowest grades.