Dan Peters 15 October 2021

Disruption warning as unions ask for pay talks to resume

Disruption warning as unions ask for pay talks to resume image

Unions have urged council employers to return to the negotiating table with an improved pay offer amid warnings that months of disruption could lie ahead.

Unison, Unite and GMB – which between them represent 1.4m council and school staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – insisted they were ‘keen to reach a fair, negotiated settlement’ in a letter to employers’ side secretary Naomi Cooke.

The three unions, which submitted a pay claim of at least 10% in February, said the percentages of members voting to reject the pay offer of 1.75% made clear staff had been left ‘disappointed and angry’.

They claimed ‘many’ local authorities have budgeted for a larger pay increase than the offer and suggested councils would be ‘anxious to avoid a potentially lengthy dispute’.

The letter read: ‘Over the last year, key workers have shown how indispensable they are, going over and above to provide essential services, often putting their own health and safety at risk.

'The 1.75% offer is wholly inadequate, and, with inflation high and rising, it represents another real terms pay cut for workers who have seen a quarter of the value of their pay wiped out since 2010.’

Unison’s head of local government, Mike Short, said workers were ‘underappreciated and appallingly undervalued’ as he called on employers to ‘do the right thing’.

GMB national secretary Rehana Azam added: ‘Slashing the wages of local government workers while we’re still in the grip of COVID is grotesque.

‘If this Government wants a levelled up, high wage economy it should start with the workers who’ve kept streets safe and clean, children in the classroom and rubbish collected throughout the pandemic.’

The employers have been approached for a response.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Children's Social Workers and Senior Social Workers (Children Looked After)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,427 to £44,658
Here in Wandsworth, we are on an exciting journey of transformation. Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Peripatetic Customer Services Adviser

Northumberland County Council
£20,444 - £22,129
Northumberland County Council operates a huge range of services across one of the largest counties in the UK. Northumberland
Recuriter: Northumberland County Council

Principal Engineer - York Central

City of York Council
£37,114 to £42,562
We have an exciting opening for an experienced highway design engineer. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Senior Highway Adoptions Inspector

City of York Council
£31,887 to £36,380
We have an exciting opening for an experienced highway inspector. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Highways Asset Engineer

Hackney London Borough Council
£37,260 - £38,148
Are you an experienced Asset Management professional looking for your next challenge? Hackney, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hackney London Borough Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.