Following consultation with our members who work in local government, UNISON along with GMB and Unite (the three largest local government unions, representing 1.4 million employees in schools and councils across England, Wales and Northern Ireland) have submitted a pay claim that attempts to reverse the real terms pay cuts suffered by local authority staff since 2010.
The claim for the year from next April would see the lowest paid staff earning at least £10 per hour, and all other council employees receiving a ten per cent pay rise.
UNISON, GMB and Unite’s joint claim also includes a one-day increase to employees’ annual leave entitlement and a two-hour reduction in the standard working week. It also calls for a review of the workplace causes of stress and mental health issues.
Commenting on the claim UNISON head of local government Jon Richards said: “Council staff have paid a heavy price during the years of austerity, keeping services going when cash was in short supply and hundreds of thousands of their colleagues lost their jobs.
“The government claims the cuts are behind us, but no new money behind the recent pay announcement for teachers, police officers and the armed forces suggests otherwise. The new PM should make good the damage of the past, and fund local government properly to protect jobs, wages and services.”
Our branch represents local government workers across North Yorkshire, including at three district councils. Our branch secretary, Wendy Nichols said: “Our members work hard day in, day out, to deliver excellent public services that communities and businesses across North Yorkshire rely on.
“Our members have seen the value of the pay fall in real terms in recent years and we believe that this pay claim, including the reduction in the working week will go some way to recognising the huge impact that our members have across North Yorkshire and the heavy price they have had to pay for the government’s austerity programme since 2010.”
From 2010 council workers faced eight years of government-imposed pay restraint, with their wages either frozen or held to a one per cent pay increase.
Local authority employees are now coming to the end of a two-year pay deal, which included a 2% increase each year, with more for the lowest paid. The unions would like to see the 2020/21 pay deal tackle the fall in living standards school and council workers have faced in the last decade.
The unions have presented the pay claim to the Local Government Association and the employers are expected to respond in the autumn.