A leading union negotiator has questioned local government employers' good faith after they decided to delay responding to their 10% pay claim until the New Year.
After meeting in London yesterday, the National Employers for Local Government Services wrote to the three unions saying they would not be able to respond to the claim which also includes two-hour cut in the working week and a one-day increase in annual leave.
They said the delay has been caused by the forthcoming General Election.
he unions – Unison, Unite and the GMB – see the claim submitted in the summer on behalf of 1.4 million council workers as an attempt to claw back reductions in pay and conditions over the last 10 years.
They say their members have suffered pay cuts amounting to 22% in real terms.
Negotiations over a new agreement are due to be settled by the 'anniversary date' when the current two-year deal runs out next April.
The letter from the employers, seen by LocalGov, says: 'Following on from the recent regional pay briefings at which councils were consulted on your Side’s pay claim, the National Employers met earlier today to receive feedback and discuss next steps.
'The National Employers decided that they will not be in a position to respond to your claim until the impact of the outcome of the general election is known, which they do not expect until the New Year.'
But GMB national secretary Rehana Azam responded: 'The unions submitted this pay claim in the summer, well in advance of the pay anniversary.
'We appreciate there is political uncertainty, but we would expect the employers to carry on discussions in good faith regardless.'