PRESS RELEASE – Coventry Local Government Workers ‘Locked Out’ of Recovery

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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

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

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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”.

For details of the campaign and future events, visit the national Unison Campaign page via http://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/unison-campaigns/worth-it/home/ or visit on the web via http://www.coventryunison.co.uk, our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/coventry.unison.

Follow @coventryunison on twitter.

ENDS

Model Text for Members Letter to MPs and prospective MEPs on NJC Pay

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Dear MP / MEP / Prospective MEP (delete this and insert name)

I have lived in your constituency 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 lobby our council to get them to put pressure on the LGA to make a decent pay offer and on government to fund it. I do 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

Add your signature to Early Day Motion 1159, in support of local government and school support workers’ pay http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/1159

Ask councillors in your local authority to put pay onto the agenda for their Group meeting, and invite the local UNISON branch to come along to speak

I am worth more than 1% because ……………………………………………………………………

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

Kind Regards,

 

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

Message to Coventry Unison Members – Why you need to vote ‘Yes’ in the Ballot

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Why you need to vote ‘YES’ in the ballot

– Your pay is frozen while prices are going up all the time. This means a real-terms pay cut over the last 4 years of 16%

– You have less money to spend and may be struggling to make ends meet. Reliance on high interest loans and credit cards are putting pressure on workers families who are having to rely on welfare handouts

– You are doing more work for less money with more stress. This will continue unless we make a stand

– The number of working people using food banks in our City is a disgrace. Years of pay cuts are adding to the numbers

– Public services are being closed or cut. As waiting times increase the quality of the service falls. These are the services we all use so its vital we fight to protect them!

Your questions and answers about the ballot

Does voting ‘YES’ mean we immediately go on strike..?

No. A huge ‘YES’ vote will give our negotiators greater power to secure a fair and decent pay rise. Local government employers have treated our service area as the whipping boys for this   governments austerity policies while slashing the services that working people and the most vulnerable require for a dignified existence. We need to use the right to strike if the   employers continue to make us pay for financial crisis that local government workers had nothing to do with. Forcing our members into poverty is not the answer.

The government says there is ‘no money’ to pay more than 1%. Why are they wrong?

There is money for a pay rise, but the government chooses not to pay it. Councils across the country have increased their reserves to a staggering £19 billion and MP’s have just been awarded a pay increase of over 11%. A deficit   busting £100 billion in tax remains ignored by the government which could stop the cuts programme in its tracks.   Finally, the gap between the income of the top 10% and the bottom 10% has multiplied 14 times in the last 25 years. Still think there’s ‘no money’..?

What can I do to help the campaign? -Firstly, ask any non-members to join UNISON. Secondly, get involved yourself! – Become a rep in your workplace—or help us get the message out that local government workers deserve a fair and decent pay rise for the hard work they do. Get in contact with us if you would like a chat about what’s involved.

Please download our flyer here, put it on your notice board and distribute it to your workmates – Pay14-news update

Pay – Strike Ballot Goes Ahead

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We are about to be balloted by our national union over this years pay offer. This follows a 70% rejection of the offer by those consulted by UNISON Local Government branches up and down the country.

In Coventry, the indication was that 77% respondents wished to reject the local government pay offer, and 33% wished to accept. This indicates a clear majority of respondents wished to reject the offer. Coventry Unison will be campaigning to reject the offer and support strike action if necessary.

The pay offer would mean around 50,000 of the lowest paid local government workers receive a rise that is slightly above inflation. The remainder of the workforce – around 90% – would receive just 1%. 

Coventry Unison wishes to thank all members and Stewards who assisted with the consultation process and every member who responded with comments and suggestions around the pay campaign. We will now give you very regular updates on the pay ballot and outcomes as we move forward.

We have already endured three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by below-inflation rises in 2013 and 2014, leaving our pay reduced by almost 20% since the Coalition came to power.

UNISON’s Head of Local Government, Heather Wakefield, said: “Our members have made it clear that this pay offer is the straw that breaks the camel’s back …they have used this consultation to send a strong message that it is insulting.”

Paul Hunt, Assistant Branch Secretary, Coventry Unison, said:  “This pay offer is another pay cut in real terms. It is a complete slap in the face for our hard working members, who keep vital public services going, whilst being under constant threat of both redundancy and further cuts to local services. The employer has left us with little choice. We urge all members to reject the offer in the formal ballot”.

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NOW IS THE TIME TO JOIN UNISON!

Please talk to your steward and get the latest information from Unison about the pay claim.

Please copy this Hotline and make sure you and your colleagues attend any meetings we organise. Lets fight to end poverty pay in local government.

Phone 02476 550829 for info.

 

Read Our Press Release here – april2514unisonpressrelease