Latest Public Sector News

10.10.14

Unions suspend council strikes as LGA pay offer considered

Unison, Unite and GMB have suspended strike action for local government and school support workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which was due to take place on 14 October. 

The three unions made the decision collectively so they could consult their members on new proposals put forward by the Local Government Association (LGA), as the “best achievable by negotiation”. 

They claim that the proposals cover the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016. Unite added that the offer, which sees thousands of the lowest paid getting a pay rise of up to £1,065 a year from 1 January 2015, will be put to members in a consultative ballot. 

An LGA statement welcomed the decision to call off the strike and said its new offer would cover the period from 1 January 2015 through to March 31 2016. Its key features are a 2.2% increase on local government pay grades, known as spinal column points, 11 and above. This is the equivalent of £14,880 a year and over. 

“Unison, GMB and Unite have made the right decision in calling off the strike planned for next week,” and LGA spokesman said. “It is good news for our employees and for the millions who rely on the services which local government provides, and now gives the employers and the unions time to seek views on the proposals.” 

Head of local government at Unison Heather Wakefield added that the negotiations have been tough, in a “tough financial climate for local government and our members”. 

She said: “It is right that those members - who are keeping councils and schools going in tough conditions - will now have the chance to make their voice heard by voting on the LGA’s proposals.” 

Fiona Farmer, national officer for Unite, stated that the improved offer would not have been achieved without the resolve of the union’s members who stood together to force the employers back around the negotiating table. 

“We believe the offer is the best achievable by negotiation, but local government employers and the government should be under no illusions that we will continue to campaign against poverty pay in local government,” she noted. 

GMB’s national secretary for public services Brian Strutton explained that it had proved extremely difficult to persuade “the local government employers to agree new pay proposals for us to consult our members on.  But now we have an agreed set of new proposals which we will consult on and while doing that GMB is suspending the strike planned for 14 October”.  

More details about the pay consultation will be issued shortly, the unions added. 

(Image: c. Chris Radburn/PA) 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Peter   13/10/2014 at 13:53

The Unions are selling out their members because they don't want strikes in the months leading up to general election as this just might upset Labours chances in May. But, even if Labour do succeed next May, the workers will continue to be shafted, just as they were by Blair and Brown.

Tim   15/10/2014 at 10:47

So why have the same unions gone ahead with strikes in the health sector Peter, if it's all about keeping Labour happy?

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