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1% pay offer for council workers ‘outrageous’ – Unison

Employers have formally offered council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who earn more than £14,880 a 1% pay rise this year.

Those who earn lower salaries would receive a “slightly higher” increase.

However, the proposal has sparked anger amongst unions with UNISON calling the offer “outrageous”. The union is now consulting more than 600,000 of its local government and school members over industrial action, following the offer.

Unison says about 50,000 of the lowest-paid local government workers will receive a rise slightly above inflation, but the rest of the workforce – about 90% – will receive just 1%.

The 1% offer from Local Government Employers will apply to more than one million workers including teaching assistants, planners, administrators, social workers and engineers, and will cost £164.65m. It does cover council chief executives, senior officers, teachers or firefighters, who are covered by separate national pay arrangements.

Cllr Sian Timoney, chair of the Employers' Side, said: “There is a broad consensus among councils that there should be a pay offer to staff this year. At a time when local government is tackling the biggest cuts in living memory, this offer balances our commitment to increase the pay of our hardworking employees with the responsibility we have to address the significant financial pressures we face.

“We believe that this is a fair deal for employees, given the limits of what we can afford, and a fair deal for the taxpayers and residents who use and pay for the vital services which local government provides.”

But Unison's head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “It is outrageous that the vast majority of local government workers have effectively been offered another pay cut. Although the long overdue modest rise for the lowest paid workers is welcome, this offer is another slap in the face for local government workers.”

The National Joint Council, which negotiates the pay, terms and conditions of staff working for councils, agrees an annual uplift to the national pay spine, on which each individual council decides where to place its employees. Each council takes into account a number of factors such as job size and local labour market conditions when deciding an employee's salary. There are no nationally-determined jobs or pay grades in local government, unlike in other parts of the public sector.

Chancellor George Osborne said in his budget that pay awards would be limited to 1% in 2015-16 too. 

In the Spending Round 2013, the government announced that departments will be putting in place plans to end automatic time-served progression pay in the civil service by 2015-16. "Substantial reform" to progression pay is also underway for teachers, the health service, prisons and police.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Tony   24/03/2014 at 12:06

Perhaps all public sector employees should have their job titles changed to either 'Banker' or 'MP' then they would easily get 10 to 15% rises!

Abuzz   24/03/2014 at 12:41

After not receiving a pay rise for four years, I received a 1% in January, backdated to September 2013. This gave me an additional £60 in my pocket in January, with all of the back-pay. I am not bowled over with the generosity shown to me by Managers on wages of £100K+. I must say that 1% pay rise makes little difference to my wages every month. It is a spit in the ocean. It is an insult. I am a hard-working, low-paid, full-time, support worker in a Sixth Form College (still way under £20K, even with the 1% increase).

Its A Joke   24/03/2014 at 13:25

1% after so many years of 0% is hardly a help when the cost of living has risen significantly. stating the truth is such an easy matter.

Tigger's Mom   26/03/2014 at 10:35

I'm quite happy to get 1%. Unison butt out. I'm facing a 9% pay cut due to a restructure and you did nothing to stop that!! I'm no longer a member.

Jay   27/03/2014 at 15:11

Wow, I can't believe my pay is going to go up by £1.16 a week!. Of course I won't see any of that until September, and since that represents about the price of a loaf of bread these day's, it won't exactly put me in the supertax bracket, &, as I work for library services & won't actually have a job much beyond that anyway I probably won't get too excited. Oh and I'm still waiting for the £250 flat rate increase the chancellor promised to lowest paid workers a couple of years ago, - you know, the one that our local authority declined to implement. As usual, the fat cats get fatter, & the rest of us can take what's left.

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