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Major public sector union to reject 2% pay offer

The National Industrial Sector Committee of Unite, one of the country’s largest unions, has unanimously voted to reject the 2% pay offer made to council workers.

Following the decision, the union will open a consultative ballot of all its ‘green book’ members, although the recommendation will be to reject the proposals.

Affecting over a million people, the 2% pay increase was the first time since 2013 that council staff had received a pay rise of more than 1%, with a further 2% promised by April 2018.

However, the union argues that inflation, based on the CPI index, coupled with a 3.9% rise in housing costs, means that the current offer would see staff hit by a real-terms pay cut.

Unite national officer for local authorities Jim Kennedy said local government had been “decimated” by cuts from the current Conservative government, and that the organisation would be looking to enter “meaningful negotiations” to try and resolve the problem quickly.

“Our members simply do not believe that the offer will result in enough members receiving a pay increase which is at least in line with inflation,” he continued.

“Unite will now hold a consultative ballot of our members and once that process is complete we will consider our next steps.

“The majority of Unite’s local government members are not well paid but provide essential services to communities up and down the UK. The government’s programme of austerity means that they are simply no longer financially able to keep their heads above water.”

Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 a year, and since 2013, rises have been capped at 1% - below the rate of inflation.

The current pay offer does not apply to council chief executives, senior officers, teachers or firefighters, who are covered by separate national pay arrangements.

Top image: Andrew Skudder

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