Council and school workers have kept the country going, and after a decade of cuts, it’s time for a decent pay rise.

UNISON is calling for a 10% pay rise for local government workers.

This would pull the the lowest paid to above £10 per hour – ​lifting them above the ​real ​living ​wage of £9.50 per hour (outside London).

Staff working in local government have seen up to 25% wiped from the value of their pay, after ten years of savage local authority cuts and pay restraint.

Local government workers have kept the country going during the COVID crisis, facing daily risks to do vital work and keep communities safe.

UNISON is clear – it is time for fair pay for council and school workers

The NJC pay claim was submitted by the trade unions (UNISON, Unite and GMB) representing 1.4 million local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Monday 15 February 2021.

The press release can be found here

What’s next?

It’s time to campaign for #FairPay. We need to win public support and encourage all UNISON members to stand up for their pay rise.

A range of useful materials for local campaigns are available in the resources section below. Resources will be regularly added, so check back for updates on how you can help to win fair pay.

#FairPay Q&A

Watch the briefing and member Q&A:

Make sure your details are up to date

Check on My UNISON. It is crucial we can contact you over the coming months about the fight for your pay rise. It is crucial that all members play their part. It takes two minutes.

Update your details online here

Email your councillor

Local councillors can voice their support and raise this issue directly with local government employers. And with local elections in May, now is the time for councillors to listen to what workers in their communities want. It takes one minute using our tool.

Email your councillor

Council motion to support the campaign

Tell your colleagues

Let your colleagues know about the fight for #FairPay. There are so many ways you can help to get people on board:

Share the campaign video on Facebook

Retweet the campaign video on Twitter

Download the graphics

Order and download the leaflet

Order a leaflet for school staff

Here is a presentation for branch meetings

And if your colleagues aren’t a member of UNISON already, encourage them to join! They can join online, it takes 5 minutes.

Join UNISON online



  • What do I need to do as a UNISON member?

    Get involved in the campaign!

    The Employers are consulting councils on our claim during March. Then they will meet in April to consider views and decide a pay offer.

    Meanwhile, talk to friends and workmates – use the resources available on this webpage to promote the campaign within your branch. If you have colleagues who aren’t UNISON members – get them to join and get them involved in the pay campaign!

    Get your local councillors to support the campaign using our model motion for councils to debate.

  • What is the background to this year’s pay claim?

    Local government workers have kept the country going during the Covid-19 crisis, making sure our communities are safe and well and providing local services.

    The government promised to do “whatever is necessary” to support local authorities throughout this crisis, but they have failed to deliver on this promise.

    Local government staff have lost up to 25% in the real term value of their pay over the past decade, and they deserve fair pay. Only a decent pay award can recover a lost decade of cuts, austerity and crisis, and ensure local government workers are properly rewarded for the vital work that they do every day.

  • What is the NJC?

    The National Joint Council (NJC) is made up of representatives from UNISON, other trade unions and local government employers (organised by the Local Government Association).

    The NJC negotiates local government pay for most local authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Cymru/Wales.

    Each year the unions submit a pay claim. The employers respond with a pay offer, and after negotiations, UNISON consults members on the final offer.

    The final pay award is applied to the NJC pay spine, which is used by councils and schools to construct their local pay grades (London and some other councils have their own pay spines).

  • What is this year’s NJC Pay Claim (2021-22)?

    UNISON and the other unions have asked for a 10% increase on all pay points.

  • Who is covered by the NJC?

    Most councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland use the NJC. If you’re not sure, ask your branch.

    Different NJC councils using the NJC pay spine have different grading structures. Some NJC councils do not use the NJC pay spine – or have a local variant of it. But if they follow the NJC pay award, they will apply the percentage increase to whatever pay spines they use.

    Schools members – if you work in a local authority school and the local authority follows the NJC, then you are covered by this increase.

    Academy and Multi-Academy Trust members – most academies and MATs follow the NJC. Ask your branch if you’re not sure.

    Ask your branch if you don’t know what your local grading structure looks like.