Vote yes graphic for local government ballot

NJC Strike Ballot Member FAQs

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about UNISON’s upcoming 2021 NJC strike ballot.


NJC Pay Ballot 2021

  • Why are UNISON local government members being balloted for strike action?

    Every year, unions representing local government workers submit a pay claim and employers respond with a pay offer. This year’s offer was for 1.75% (or 2.75% for those on the lowest pay grade). With inflation running at over 3%, this would represent a real terms pay cut. This offer was rejected by UNISON members in councils and schools, yet employers have refused to offer more.

  • Who is being balloted?

    Most members working in councils and schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Scotland has its own pay negotiating body). If you receive a ballot paper from UNISON, we believe you are eligible to vote and eligible to take strike action.

  • When is the ballot happening?

    1 – 14 December 2021: You will receive your ballot paper in the post

    10 January 2022: Last opportunity to request a replacement ballot

    14 January 2022: We need to receive your ballot paper by this date

  • Why is UNISON balloting for strike action, shouldn’t we be negotiating with employers?

    We continue to try and negotiate with local government employers. After announcing plans for a strike ballot, UNISON and other unions have continued speaking and meeting with employers. But at every opportunity they have refused to budge. Even knowing that we are balloting for strike action they insist 1.75% is their final offer.

  • How do I vote?

    You will receive a ballot paper, a return envelope and some additional material explaining UNISON’s recommendation to members. The ballot paper asks members if they are prepared to take part in strike action. You should put a cross in the box against your choice on the ballot paper. This must be returned to CES (who are running the ballot on UNISON’s behalf) by 14 January 2022.

  • Can I vote online?

    No. The law does not allow for electronic voting in these types of ballots.

  • Is UNISON recommending how I should vote?

    UNISON is recommending members vote YES to strike action.

  • Are members in academies and multi-academy trusts included?

    Most members in academies/multi-academy trusts can take part. If you receive a ballot paper from UNISON that means we believe you are eligible to vote and eligible to take strike action.

  • How can I support the campaign?

    Tell your colleagues about the ballot and why they deserve fair pay. If your colleague is not a member of UNISON they won’t be able to vote, so make sure you tell them to join by 3 January 2022. They can join online – it takes 5 minutes at

    You can get involved in the campaign locally by speaking to your UNISON branch. There is also a range of materials available to help you spread the word online or in-person – including leaflets, posters, graphics, digital materials and videos. Use our hashtags #VoteYes! and #EnoughisEnough on social media to join the conversation.

  • What should I do if I have not received my ballot paper?

    You should receive your ballot paper by 14 December 2021. If you do not receive a ballot, contact UNISONdirect before 12 noon on 10 January 2022 so they can order a replacement for you. You can also request a duplicate ballot paper online via MyUnison at

  • There are numbers on the ballot paper. Does this mean you can see the way I have voted?

    The numbers on the ballot paper are placed there by the independent scrutineer CES. They are there to ensure the ballot is secure and to prevent people voting more than once. UNISON has no access to the numbers or anything relating to them. Your vote is secret UNISON cannot find out haw somebody voted.

  • What happens if the results are for industrial action?

    Once the results are received UNISON will consider the available options. Members will be kept informed.

  • If members vote to take strike action, how many days of strike action would we need to take?

    If members vote to take strike action and we get a turnout of 50% or more, our aim would be to hold an initial day of strike action. But we think we’re likely to need to take further action in order to secure an improved pay offer.

  • Where can I find out more information?

    Please visit for up to date information.