Government urged to help councils give us a decent pay rise

Pay Up Now!

The Local Government Association has made an increased pay offer for staff on National Joint Council (NJC) pay and conditions as follows:

With effect from 1 April 2020, an increase of 2.75% on all NJC pay points 1 and above. The National Employers also agreed that the Joint Secretaries should continue their discussions on the element of the claim that seeks “a comprehensive joint national review of the workplace causes of stress and mental health”.

The National Employers propose that the Joint Secretaries enter into discussions, without prejudice, in order to examine all options for ensuring the sector – and the NJC pay spine – can meet the challenge of the Government’s target for the National Living Wage in the coming years.

The response of the Trade Union Side, of which Unison is part, is as follows:

We are pleased that the Local Government Association has made an increased national pay offer for local government and schools staff working in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But we are very disappointed that it falls well short of our claim.

There are a number of issues in the letter that means that we do not consider that this can be a final offer.

We note that the employers are calling on the government to fund an additional pay increase on top of the Local Government offer. The trade unions support that call and would like to write jointly with the LGA to the government. We suggest that we give them a deadline of two weeks in which to respond, during which we will continue to engage with you to seek further improvements.

We welcome the offer for discussions about the impact of the National Living Wage, which we would urge begin as soon as possible. And we think that further discussions on the cause of stress and mental health are positive. However, we think that the 2.75% offer needs further discussion.  We suggest that after either the government has responded, or the two weeks are up, that we meet as an NJC executive to seek to finish the negotiating process for this year

Local government and school staff are working above and beyond their jobs, putting themselves daily at risk from the coronavirus to keep public services working and our country on track. The government should recognise this and fund a substantial additional increase for these committed workers, who have seen their pay drop in real terms by over 20% in recent years.

Now is the time for employers and unions to call for the government to step in and properly reward our vital local government staff.

Members will note that we have not accepted that this is the employers’ final offer, as a number of areas remain unresolved.  We have asked the employers’ to right jointly with us to the government to seek additional funds for an improved offer and also called for a further negotiating meeting.

Please be assured that we will keep you updated on developments. Members in schools who are employed by Academy Trusts are not guaranteed to receive the national pay award, but where Academy employers do not implement the national pay award we expect them to enter into direct negations with us about pay.