You may have heard about or seen communications from UNISON and other trade unions over recent days regarding the current pay dispute. A proposal has been discussed but no formal offer has been made.
Coventry Unison agrees that the messages currently coming out from various sources appear to be contradictory and confusing which is why we want to update you of where we stand.
Where are the pay negotiations at the moment?
At this point, there is no firm offer as the LGA has not put the proposal to Councils. Therefore, as it stands, UNISON nationally is not in a position to consult members until a firm offer is made in writing that the employer has signed up to.
At a recent regional briefing, UNISON branches were informed that our sister unions may have a slightly different position to ourselves, however, we have a firm conference policy that says we cannot consult our members until we have a firm offer in writing. A proposal does not constitute an offer.
Is this proposal a better offer than the 1%?
At present this is only a proposal. However, there are a couple of things you need to bear in mind:
The lump sum for the 9 month period in 2014/15 amounts to less than 1 years back pay on the original 1% offer.
The proposed 2.2% on basic pay from 1 January 2015 is low and does nothing to compensate for years of pay cuts.
UNISON recognises the fact that the LGA have come forward with a proposal. However, they need to come forward with a firm offer before our members can decide to accept or reject. Some other things to reflect on:
UNISON members in local government have faced year upon year of pay cuts which needs to be addressed.
Jobs losses and service cuts will mean more work for those left behind. Your pay needs to reflect the skilled work you do.
Your pay has a direct affect on your pension which means negotiating a fair pay rise will have longer term implications on your finances.
UNISON believes there is sufficient money for a decent pay rise. Billions in council surpluses would meet a fair rise on their own.
So what happens now?
We are waiting for a firm offer to be received from the Local Government association (LGA).
*UNISON nationally will continue to build for the industrial action planned for 14 October.
At this point the strike will go ahead.
We will keep you informed of developments as soon as we have them.
As you know, the three unions – UNISON, GMB and Unite – submitted an initial claim for 2014-2015 for a minimum increase of £1 an hour on all scale points to achieve the Living Wage for the lowest paid and to begin to restore the 18% lost earnings for members above the bottom pay point. At the moment, 450,000 NJC workers earn £6.45 pence an hour – £1.20 an hour less than the Living Wage.
The LGA’s initial offer
On 20 March the LGA made an offer – without entering into negotiations with the unions – of 1% on scale points 11 and above and lump sum payments between £580 and £175 for those on scale points 5 – 10. All three unions rejected the offer and took industrial action on 10 July. Further action is planned for 14 October.
The LGA steadfastly refused to negotiate with us over an improved offer or enter into arbitration talks via ACAS – despite a clause in the Green Book which enables either side of the NJC to seek arbitration. However, in the last four weeks there have been Joint Secretarial discussions seeking to achieve a further acceptable offer.
New proposals – not a formal offer
These discussions produced a set of proposals from the LGA which were put to UNISON’s NJC Committee yesterday. The LGA had asked the unions to suspend the 14 October industrial action and consult members over the proposals while they also consulted councils. The employers did not feel able to make the proposals as a formal pay offer, although they did have the agreement of the four political group leaders on the LGA and the councillors on the Employers Side of the NJC. They had asked the unions to consult members over the proposals while they got the approval of councils for them to become a formal offer.
What’s in the proposals?
As you will see, the proposals – outlined below – are complicated!
- They cover a two-year period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016
- They are made up of a lump sum to cover the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 December 2014. This will not be consolidated into basic pay rate
- The lump sum is £325 for those on scale points 5, 6 and 7, £150 for those on scale points 8,9 and 10 and £100 for those on scale points 11 and above
- 2.2% increase for those on scale points 11 – 49 from 1 January 2015
- 8.56% increase (£1065.00) on scp 5 from 1 January 2015
- 7.93% increase (£1,000) on scp 6 from 1 January 2015
- 6.19% increase (£800) on scp 7 from 1 January 2015
- 4.13% increase (£550) on scp 8 from 1 January 2015
- 2.55% increase (£350) on scp 9 from 1 January 2015
- 2.32% increase (£325) on scp 10 from 1 January 2015
In addition, scale point 5 would be removed from 1 October 2015, to make the bottom rate £7.06 pence an hour.
UNISON’s NJC Committee decision
UNISON’s NJC Committee met on 25 September and considered the LGA proposals. After a very lengthy discussion, the NJC Committee decided to:
Reject the proposals on the grounds that the lump sum payment for the first nine months of the 2014-2015 pay year from 1 April 2014 amounts to less than one year’s back pay on the original 1% offer and …..
- The overall impact of the offer of 2.2% on basic pay for those on scale points 11-49 from 1 January 2015 is too low and does not begin to compensate our members for the loss of earnings and hardship they face
- Reject the proposals on the grounds that have not yet been agreed by councils and so do not constitute a formal offer which can be consulted on under UNISON’s pay consultation procedures
- Continue with the industrial action planned for 14 October
- Seek further talks with the LGA to discuss an improved offer
After the discussion, the NJC Committee agreed a statement as follows:
“In light of the absence of a formal offer being made by the employers, who have instead chosen to share a set of pay proposals that procedurally under Conference policy we cannot consult on and which appear extremely limited in terms of benefits to our members, the UNISON NJC Committee rejects these proposals and declines the employers’ request to suspend industrial action at this time. The NJC Committee has agreed to share these proposals so that members could also be properly informed. The NJC Committee agreed to continue to explore alternative proposals, the details of which are attached for information”.
The value of the lump sum payment is less than 1% of current basic pay for all those on scp 10 and above. This is also true of the combined effect of the lump sum payment and the 3 months pay increase for all those on scale points 26 and above.
What happens next?
We have informed the LGA of UNISON’s decision and have requested an urgent meeting with the three unions to discuss a further improved offer. We will keep you informed of developments.
Feeling Hard Up – Come to the #Protest at Next Weeks #Tory Party Conference in nearby #Birmingham. Sunday 28 Sep. Assemble Victoria Square from 11am. Supported by Unison, with Dave Prentis speaking. @hardupfestival
MP’s Pay Rise – 11%
Bankers’ Pay Rise – 35%
Your Pay Offer – 1%
Council and school workers voted for strike action for fair pay.
Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted for action after rejecting the employers’ pay offer of just 1%. The first strike day took place on 10 July. Now a second strike will happen on Tuesday 14 October.
Once again. Unison is co-ordinating the action with the other local unions involved. We will be organising picket lines on all Council workplaces, to be followed up with a rally in Coventry City Centre (details to be confirmed).
Please ask all your colleagues to respect the democratic decision made by Unison members to take strike action and do not cross our picket lines on the day.
Anyone with questions about the action can speak to your local steward or phone Branch Office – 02476 550829 – email firstname.lastname@example.org
Four Reasons to go on Strike
- We can’t afford another pay and pension cut
The current government offer leaves most workers with pay worth almost 20% less than in 2010. Falling pay also means loss of pension for the rest of your life.
- We are worth fair pay for the work we do
Our pay and conditions are the worst in the public sector – from top to bottom.
- Taking another pay cut won’t save jobs and services
Despite a pay freeze, 1,000 further jobs cuts are planned by Coventry City Council. Services continue to be stripped to the bone, privatised or stopped all together. There’s no reason to believe a pay cut will stop this.
- All this will continue unless we act now
Low pay is bad for workers and bad for the economy. That’s why politicians from all parties are calling for an end to low pay. Many local government workers rely on benefits to pay bills. Right now, the taxpayer is subsidising local government to pay poverty wages.
Click here for the Press Release – locked out press release
Local government workers in Coventry are not benefitting from the recovery.
UNISON is holding a lunch time protest on 20th August at 12.30 pm in Broadgate Square.
This will be to highlight the colossal cut in wages council workers have suffered in recent years. While the highest paid are enjoying bumper pay rises, council employees have to cut back on food, heating and bare essentials.
Since 2010 electricity prices have risen 28% and gas prices have risen by 38%. In the same period council employees’ wages have risen by 2%.
With 1,000 jobs cut already, and another 1,000 to go this year, council workers are expecting to do more for less, while struggling to feed themselves and their families.
UNISON’s members are being locked out of the recovery and need a decent pay rise, to support them and their local economy.
Contact: Chris Burrow 02476 521126 for info
Twitter hashtag for the event will be #lockedout