Election Campaign Model Text for Members Letter to Councillors on NJC Pay

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I have lived in your local authority for (insert number of) years. I am writing to ask you to support UNISON’s campaign for a fair pay rise for local government and school support workers. UNISON is seeking an increase of at least £1 an hour for all the people like me who are keeping council services and schools running in the face of ongoing job and pay cuts.

The final pay offer from the Local Government Association (LGA) would give the majority of staff a pay increase of only 1%. The pay of the lowest paid workers in local government is getting closer and closer to the National Minimum Wage, and hundreds of thousands of local government workers are paid below the Living Wage.

I am insulted by the LGA’s attitude to the local government workforce, which is now at an all time low. Since 2010, I have had a three-year pay freeze and just a 1% increase last year. That means my pay has fallen by 18% in real terms. On top of that many of us have had unsocial hours pay, annual leave, sick pay and car allowances cut. With food, fuel and travel costs going through the roof, I am in real financial hardship. Local government cuts to pay mean that I can no longer …………………………………

Please do everything you can to get the council to put pressure on the LGA to make a decent pay offer and on government to fund it. I understand that our pay claim comes at a time of unprecedented cuts in local government funding by central government. But there are political choices that can be made. Since 2010 the local government pay bill has reduced by 25% and council reserves have increased to £19 billion. We are told that large reserves are needed for investment – some of this must be for investment in staff.

If I had £1 an hour extra, I would spend it locally. This would give our local businesses a boost and help get the economy going too. Research undertaken for my union shows that if local government workers were paid an extra £1 an hour, the extra income from higher tax and national insurance ‘take’ and reduction in benefit costs would mean a saving of £760 million for government. If the Chancellor chose to do so, these savings could be re-cycled to councils to help pay for our claim.

I’m sure you will agree that your local council and school support workers are doing a great job. But I feel that enough is enough, and that’s why I will be voting to take strike action. We have shown our commitment to keeping our local services going against the odds. I am now asking you to show your commitment to us.

As you know, there are local and European elections this month. Councillors and MEPs will find it hard to get the support of local council and school support workers unless they do something now about the real hardship we face.
Please can you:
Sign our petition, calling on the employers to make an improved offer – and get your constituents to sign it too! http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/local-government-workers-need-a-decent-pay-rise.html
Put pay on the agenda for your Group meeting, to have a proper debate with your fellow councillors, and invite your local UNISON branch to come along to speak

I amNJC model letter for councillors 8 May 2014 worth more than 1% because ……………………………………………………………………

Please help make our employers and government see that local government workers deserve better.
Kind Regards,

 

SEE response from Cllr John Blundell, Conservative Group Attached.Letter to UNISON 22.5.14

7 thoughts on “Election Campaign Model Text for Members Letter to Councillors on NJC Pay

  1. Response from Cllr Phil Townshend (Deputy Leader – Coventry City Council)

    Many thanks for your email dated 19th May 2014 in connection with the above matter .

    I have referred this issue to Councillor Damien Gannon who is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Human Resources, and have asked him to respond to your request.

    Personally, I am supportive of the idea of a presentation to the Labour Group, although this would have to be after the elections.

    With all best wishes.

    Yours sincerely,

    Phil.

  2. Response from Cllr Ram Lakha

    Dear Chris

    Thanks for putting me in the loop. As I have noted, the Deputy Leader has responded and I hold the similar view.

    Regards

    Ram

  3. Response from Cllr Mal Mutton

    Dear Chris,

    As an ex public service employee, I know from experience that workers in the public sector always bear the brunt of any wage freezes and changes in pension rights etc.

    The National Minimum Wage is now being taken as the ‘norm’, and I find this disgraceful. We should be supporting Public Sector Unions in their fight for a proper living wage, pension rights and improved terms and conditions. Without Public Sector Workers the Country would grind to a halt.

    I, personally would support Unison and the other Public Sector Unions in their efforts to achieve a better deal for their Members

    Regards

    Mal (member of PCS)

  4. Response from Cllr John Mutton

    Hi Chris / Sarah,

    As someone who has been a trade unionist all of my working life, I have always subscribed to the philosophy of a fair days wage for a fair days work.

    Unfortunately, this Tory led Government and Tory controlled LGA believe in bonuses for the fat cats in the banking industry and either nothing or at best very little for the hard working staff in the public sector.

    I wouldn’t want to commit myself to the amount of increase as we need to see just what is affordable, particularly as we wouldn’t want to see one person’s increase being another person’s P45. I would like to remind you, although I am sure that you remember, during the three years pay freeze there was a meeting of Leaders and Deputies across the West Midlands to discuss what, if any, offer we should make to the employee side. The only two people who voted in favour of a pay award were myself as Leader of Coventry and George Duggins as Deputy Leader, so the only support that the workforce, and their Trade Unions had was from the Labour Party in Coventry. I would sincerely hope that that support is still there today.

    Yours fraternally,

    John.

  5. Response from Cllr Jim O’Boyle

    Hi Colleagues,

    Totally agree with the responses from both Cllr J Mutton and Cllr M Mutton. I would just add that we have an opportunity as a Labour Party Group to campaign seriously on this and other issues at a national level which is something I am very keen on. Ultimately, only by convincing the government of the error of their ways will we succeed for working people both here in Coventry and across the country.

    I will be campaigning with union colleagues to that end.

    Regards, Jim.

  6. Response from Cllr Damien Gannon

    Dear Sarah/Chris

    Thank you for your email, I am responding as Cabinet Member for Finance and on behalf of the Labour Group. I agree whole heartedly with your assessment regarding the increasing cost of living and the effect that recent pay offers have had on your members who are hardworking, public spirited individuals who often put others and the service they provide before themselves.

    The Unison pay claim for 2014 stated that there should be “a minimum of £1 an hour on scale point 5 to achieve the Living Wage and the same flat rate increase on all other scale points.” I also note that Unison claim that the pay increase would lead to savingsfor the government. Whilst I have some sympathy with this I am not in a position to commit to this proposal at this time. You will appreciate that these are important Group decisions that will be taken as part of the Group’s budget setting process and I cannot accept or reject them without Group approval.

    At this point, I would highlight the fact that, like many Local Authorities, Coventry is facing unprecedented budget cuts imposed by the Tory-led Government. Indeed, for the years 2015/16 and 2016/17 the gap in the Council budget stands at £15m rising to £40m respectively. The Unison pay claim would cost Coventry City Council £10.1m and would therefore require further significant cuts to accommodate the claim unless the Government provided additional resources to fund the increase. It is right that the previous Leader of the Council, Cllr John Mutton, supported an increased pay award for Local Government employees. However, I would highlight the fact that at no point has any increase above the nationally negotiated position been factored into the Medium Term Financial Strategy or budget setting process. I would add that whilst I am sure Cllr Mutton supported the principle of an increase I think your members would recognise that one of the first acts of Cllr Ann Lucas’s administration in 2013 was the immediate introduction of the Living Wage for directly employed employees giving the lowest paid around a 20% pay increase. When Cllr Lucas, myself and the Labour Group championed the Living Wage for the very lowest paid staff at Coventry City Council we were taking decisive action which I am sure your members will have applauded.

    In addition to this, and as I have stated at our quarterly meetings I would be happy to support a campaign against austerity and a better deal for local government workers and I await your proposals on this matter. It is also worth noting that Jim Cunningham MP and Cllr Ann Lucas recently met the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls MP along with West Midlands Leaders to impress upon him the difficult situation that faces local government. After the meeting Ed Balls remarked that this was the first time such a meeting had been convened and that he was impressed with the West Midlands Leader’s lobbying efforts. This clearly demonstrates that, in Coventry, we are doing what we can to counter Tory Government spending cuts – but as I said before, actions speak louder than words!

    Finally, I would also like to endorse the invitation that Cllr Townshend extended to you for your representatives to deliver a presentation to the Group. Indeed, I would welcome such a presentation and you will correct me if I am wrong, but this would be the first time Union Representatives have been invited to speak to the whole of the Labour Group. As a party founded by trade unionists I believe that this has been a terrible oversight that should be corrected and I would be happy to make arrangements for such a presentation in the new municipal year.

    In short, I welcome your campaign for a better deal for Local Government employees, I am happy to arrange a date for you to make a presentation to the Labour Group but I hope you understand that I cannot accept or reject your proposals without first taking them to the Group as part of the budget setting process. I am also happy for you to share this email with your members.

    Yours sincerely

    Damian

  7. Response from Cllr John Blundell

    Thank you for your recent communication. I will be replying on behalf of the
    Conservative Group shortly.

    Regards

    John Blundell

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