NJC Pay Offer Now Accepted – Implementation Begins

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Ensuring council and school workers receive their pay rise in full.

A pay rise for council and school staff was negotiated nationally by the National
Joint Council (NJC) for 2018-2020. This agreement is now being implemented locally by UNISON branches and activists – checklists are available for activists in councils and schools or in academies.

Key features of the pay award:

  • A 16% pay increase for those currently on the lowest NJC scale point (scp) 6 over two years, giving a bottom rate of £9 an hour from 1 April 2019
  • A pay increase of between 15% and 4.3% for those on current NJC scp’s 7 – 28
    4.04 % over two years for those above current NJC scp 29 – including those above NJC scp 49
  • A new pay spine from 2019, with new scale points 1-43 and even 2% pay gaps between new scp’s 1-22

The full, accepted offer is laid out here

Note – NJC employees in London have their own pay spine and received a different offer, which was also accepted.

What does this mean for me?

Your employer has been informed that the award should now be implemented. It will need to be applied to your local situation because each employer has its own grading structure. Your UNISON branch activists and UNISON staff will be working together to ensure that every employer fully implements the offer.

What happens next?

We want your pay rise to get to you as quickly as possible. Your local branch will let you know when to expect your pay rise. If you have any queries, please contact your branch directly:

Branch Finder


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Fair pay now for council and school workers

  • What is UNISON’s view of the LGA’s pay offer?

    The UNISON NJC Committee is recommending that members reject the 2018/20 pay offer. The Committee believes that the offer falls short of our claim. However, the Committee is clear that the offer is the best achievable by negotiation and that nothing short of substantial, all-out strike action could have the potential to improve the offer.

  • What am I being consulted upon?

    UNISON’s consultation on the London Employers’ pay offer will ask you whether you reject or accept the Employers’ pay offer. If you answer “reject” you will be expected to take substantial all-out strike action to improve the pay offer if it is rejected. All-out strike action is all members covered by the offer taking strike action at the same time.

  • Why is it important to vote on the pay offer?

    It is vital we have a high member turnout in the consultation. So the UNISON NJC Committee has an accurate picture of members’ views.

    It’s YOUR union and YOUR pay. Have your say!

  • How am I being consulted?

    Your branch will be consulting you by any of the following methods:

    • Balloting members by postal votes
    • Consulting members through workplace meetings
    • Consulting using electronic voting
    • Consulting through a combination of workplace meetings, balloting members and electronic voting.
  • What are the views of the other unions?

    Unite is recommending rejection of the offer. The GMB is consulting members on the basis that the offer is the best achievable by negotiation.

  • When will the results of the members’ consultation be announced?

    The UNISON NJC Committee will consider the outcome of the consultation and decide its course of action based on all the responses to the consultation at its meeting on 16 March. Your branch will be notified of the outcome within 24 hours.

  • How is my pay negotiated?

    As a worker in local government, most schools, some other public bodies and some private and voluntary sector contractors, your pay and other conditions are determined by a negotiating body called the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services.

    The NJC Trade Union Side is made up of representatives from UNISON, GMB and Unite. The Local Government Association (LGA) represents local authorities in negotiations, with representatives from the Northern Ireland and Welsh LGA’s too. NJC terms and conditions are found in the Green Book collective agreement.

  • Am I covered by the LGA’s pay offer?

    Everyone contracted to NJC (Green Book) pay and conditions working in councils, schools, academies, Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) some private and voluntary sector contractors, Fire and Emergency Planning Authorities and National Parks will be covered by the offer.

  • I work in an academy does the NJC offer apply to me?

    The overwhelming majority of academy schools implement NJC pay and   conditions.  If you’re unsure check with your local branch

  • My terms and conditions have been changed since the last pay award. Am I still covered by the NJC (Green Book)?

    Unfortunately, many councils are changing conditions locally, but unless your council has formally pulled out of the National Joint Council you will remain on NJC pay. This means that you will be covered by the pay offer and are able to vote in the member consultation on it. If you are unsure whether your employer is still part of the NJC, you should check with your UNISON branch.

  • What are NJC spinal column points (scps)? Are they the same as grades?

    No. The basic pay of each employee consists of a pay point or points on the NJC pay spine. The bottom of the NJC spine starts at scp 6 and the top is scp 49. At present scp 6 is £15,014 a year and scp 49 is £43,821.

    Grades are not agreed by the NJC. Each local authority (or school) uses the NJC pay spine to construct their local grading structure, after jobs have been evaluated using a job evaluation scheme.  Some employers start their bottom grade on a scp above scp 6 and many extend the NJC pay spine locally above scp 49.

    The pay increase on offer would be applied to the NJC pay spine. UNISON bulletins will refer to NJC pay points or scp’s because employers have different grading structures. You should check with your branch how the NJC pay spine applies to your local pay and grading structure.

  • How many employees are there on each NJC spinal column point?

    This graph shows the NJC employee numbers distribution by each NJC scp (excluding schools.). Those receiving a Foundation Living Wage supplement are counted separately in the first column. Scale points 13 and 28 have more than 20,000 employees. Scale point 25 has more than 25,000, while there are more than 30,000 on scale points 17 and 21 and 35,000 on the Foundation Living Wage.

  • What was the 2018 pay claim?

    In June 2017, the NJC Trade Union Side submitted the following one-year pay claim for 2018/19:

    The deletion of NJC pay points SCP 6-9 to reach the Foundation Living Wage of £8.45 (UK) and £9.75 (London) and a 5% increase on all NJC pay points.

  • How does the offer compare if our claim had been met in full?

    This spreadsheet shows the offer would mean a bigger increase on the NJC pay bill than the claim – but over two years rather than one year. The one year claim is worth 4.92% in pay bill terms compared to the 5.67% value of the two-year offer.

  • Can councils and schools afford the pay offer?

    The backdrop in terms of local government finance is challenging, with ongoing cuts to council budgets.

    Neither the English or Welsh local government settlements for 2018-19 included an additional element for the National Living Wage or the pay offer. However, unallocated reserves are still buoyant in many councils – and in some schools too. We wouldn’t argue for using unallocated reserves on pay on a regular basis. But as a one off – for pay restructuring – it is a legitimate use of reserves, especially as councils have been asking for it.

    We are not letting central government off the hook either! We will continue to campaign for central government to adequately fund local government pay – and other council functions. Research for UNISON by the New Policy Institute shows that almost half the cost of our claim for local government workers would be met from higher tax and National Insurance income for the Government and reduced in-work benefit costs.

  • Will employers cut jobs pay and conditions to fund the offer?

    Some employers might try to cut conditions or jobs to fund the pay offer – or not properly apply the new pay spine. In order to stay within the NJC, employers need to implement the value of the offer in full. We are taking legal advice on this issue, which will be available soon.

    The NJC Committee agreed that we should have a strategy to fight against any attempt to cut jobs or conditions. Details will be forthcoming after the result of the consultation is known.


  • What is the gender impact of the offer?

    Women are the majority of the workforce. 78% of school support and council workers are women. 61% of all school support and council jobs are part-time/term-time and women do over 90% of these part time jobs. Many of you have more than one part time job to make ends meet.

    This graph LINK shows the gender distribution of all employees by NJC salary point.  Those receiving a Foundation Living Wage supplement are counted separately in the first column. The blue columns are women.

    The red columns are men.  The graph shows that women predominate on all scp’s up to scp 17, except scp 14. More than twice as many women as men are on the Foundation Living Wage. There are more men than women on every scale point from 21 upwards. Overall women benefit more from the offer as the higher increases are at the lower end of the pay spine.


  • Why does the pay offer include a new NJC pay spine in 2019?

    The 2016 -18 pay settlement included a commitment to review the NJC pay spine. This was triggered by the introduction of the National Living Wage in 2016 and the fact that about 200 councils have voluntarily introduced the real Foundation Living Wage.

    Both developments have led to compression at the lower end of the NJC pay spine, with supervisors often being paid only a few pence more than those they supervise and grades no longer reflecting the value of jobs.  And pressure is increasing on councils to accommodate future Foundation Living Wage and National Living Wage increases and maintain pay differentials above.

    Furthermore, the current pay spine contains unequal steps between scale points and so is neither transparent nor fair.

    So there was joint recognition between the LGA and unions that the NJC pay spine needed revising and ‘cleaning up’.

    An NJC working group met and agreed principles for remodelling the pay spine.  Joint technical work followed. The employers decided to include a cleaned up new pay spine in the pay offer. However they have only cleaned up to midway on the NJC pay spine.

    If the pay offer is accepted, the unions have made it clear we want to return to cleaning up the whole spine and extending it to address job compression at the top of the pay spine.

  • How will the new pay spine affect my employer’s pay and grading structure?

    The aim of the NJC pay spine review was to minimise impact on pay structures and avoid the need for full pay and grading reviews at council level. Both sides recognised that doing the bare minimum to comply with the statutory National Living Wage increases would result in pressure to undertake pay and grading reviews, as pay differentials above collapse. This would be unsustainable in the long run

    However, unions and employers will need to check how the assimilation to a new pay spine affects their local pay and grading structures and agree the assimilation process to new pay spine to ensure that the value of the offer is met in full.

  • I am paid on the London GLPC pay spine. Does the LGA’s pay offer apply to me?

    Yes. London has separate Inner and Outer pay scales, based on the NJC pay spine but which consolidate London Weighting into basic pay on each scp. Normally the NJC pay offer would be applied to London pay points. However, given the restructuring of the NJC pay spine, the offer had to be translated into an equivalent London offer.

    The Inner and Outer London members’ leaflets set out the translation – see question 2.

  • I am not paid on the NJC or GLPC pay spines. Does the LGA’s pay offer apply to me?

    If your employer regards itself as an NJC employer, hasn’t formally left the NJC and has paid recent NJC pay awards, you will get the award. The assimilation to the new pay spine will be more complicated though. We will give advice and support to your branch and regional Organiser to help them with the assimilation.

    We would like all NJC councils which have devised their own pay spines to adopt the new NJC pay spine. There is no justification for any employer to devise its own.

  • Will I still get an increment in 2018 and 2019?

    Yes, if you are entitled to increments then they will be paid as normal and not affected by this pay offer.

  • My employer pays me a Foundation Living Wage supplement. What happens to me?

    The percentage increases in the offer will apply to your basic pay, not the supplement. If your employer pays you a supplement to make up your basic pay to the Living Wage, they might want to reduce the supplement to keep your total pay at the Living Wage level, though they don’t have to do this.

    Premium payments you receive will be increased in line with the pay offer increases as these apply to your NJC scale point.

  • What if I’m within the scope of the NJC but paid higher than SCP49?

    Under NJC (Green Book) conditions you would still be entitled to the 2% increase in April 2018 and the further 2% increase in 2019.

  • What about part-time and term time workers?

    The pay increases will be applied fully to your basic pay. The cash amounts stated in the offer are for full time workers and will apply pro-rata as hourly rates for part time and term time workers. You can see the hourly increases in the new members’ leaflet.

  • Multiple job holders – I have more than one job. What about me?

    The pay increases will be applied in full to your pay for each job, providing that you are contracted to the NJC for each of them.

  • What about leavers, people on leave, people retiring, temporary staff and new starters?

    Anyone who leaves before 1 April 2018 will not get anything.  If you leave after 1 April 2018 and before 1 April 2019, you will get the 1 April 2018 increases.

    If you are on maternity leave, adoption leave, parental leave or sick leave the increases will apply to your basic pay. They are not paid to anyone on an unpaid career break.

    If you are on a temporary contract, the pay increases should be paid to all employees whose pay is set in accordance with the NJC for Local Government Services pay arrangements, regardless of whether they are on permanent or temporary contracts.

    If you are on long-term sick leave you should still receive your pay increase.

  • I am on a temporary contract. How does the pay offer affect me?

    The pay increases should be paid to all employees whose pay is set in accordance with the NJC for Local Government Services pay arrangements, regardless of whether they are on permanent or temporary contracts.

  • Acting-up? Will I be paid according to my acting up rate?

    The increase will be applied to your acting up basic pay scale point on 1 April 2018.