PRESS RELEASE – UNISON calls for strike action in National Pay claim


Unison Press Release – Strike Ballot over pay

UNISON is urging members in local government and schools to vote Yes to strike action for improved NJC pay rates, following the refusal of employers to meet the union’s pay claim. The employer’s side of the National Joint Council for Local Government Services, which covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, refuses to renegotiate on its 1% final offer.

The trade union side claim to the NJC this year was designed to call a halt to poverty pay in local government and schools. The trade unions are seeking a minimum of £1 an hour for employees on NJC terms and conditions to make the living wage rate the bottom pay rate in local government and – because everyone on NJC pay is low paid for the jobs they do – the same flat rate increase on all other pay points.

The living wage has increased by 20p since we submitted the claim. This means in effect our claim is now £1.20 an hour on all pay points. The NJC employers have offered 1% to the 90% of the workforce on the national spinal column point 11 and above.

Those on points 5 to 10 have been offered slightly more than 1% to keep their pay levels just above the national minimum wage. There is no sign that employers will be prepared to meet the union’s demand.

Local government workers have already endured three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by a below inflation settlement in 2013. For most of the workforce, this year’s offer will be a further pay cut, leaving their pay reduced by almost 20% since the Coalition came to power.

At the same time, local government reserves have risen to over £19bn. That means that councils have chosen to bank money, rather than reward the very people who are keeping their council services going – our members. Our members decisively rejected the measly offer in our pay consultation and signalled that they understand the need for that rejection to be backed by a commitment to firm industrial action.

Richard Harty from Coventry UNISON said “Coventry workers in local government and schools are already suffering poor pay, increased workloads through cuts in services and the public are already affected by the consequences. The reality is most of our members are women in part time work, on low pay, and not overpaid bureaucrats as some in the press might suggest. We cannot continue to expect workers who contribute more than their fair share to society and to the local economy, to do more for less in a crisis of rising prices. And at the same time those who have plenty get more”.

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