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Over a million council employees get 2% pay offer

Local government employers have announced a two-year pay offer for council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which goes above the 1% pay cap for the first time since 2013.

The deal is expected to affect over 1 million people and gives those on salaries starting at £19,430 a 2% increase in pay on 1 April 2018, with a further 2% rise on 1 April 2019.

It also includes a higher pay offer for those starting on lower salaries which is reportedly up to 16% over two years. The offer has been presented to unions – GMB, UNISON and Unite – for committee consideration.

The offer equates to a 5.6% increase in the national pay bill over two years from April 2018.

“Council and school support staff are the lowest paid workers across our public services and are long overdue a wage rise above the 1% cap,” said UNISON head of local government, Heather Wakefield.

“The government must now come up with the cash to fund local government properly so councils have the money to give their staff a wage increase that doesn’t put more services or jobs at risk.”

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.

GMB national secretary, Rehana Azam, said: “Local government workers are suffering the worst squeeze on their pay in living memory. We have been clear throughout that the years of pay pinching must be brought to an end with decent pay rises.

“We’ll now be giving the employers’ formal offer the careful scrutiny and consideration it requires.”

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

Jim Kennedy, Unite national officer, added: “Continuing government cuts to local government have seen real term pay cuts of up to 21% for some of the lowest paid public servants in the country.

“This self-defeating austerity, which is denying communities vital services and sucking money out of local economies, is unsustainable and has to end. Unite will be considering the detail of the pay offer and consulting with its members.”

Research done by the TUC last month indicated that a total of £8.5bn could be taken away from combined public-sector wages this year – a total of £48bn since 2010.

Top image: Alphotographic

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