After two fantastic days of strike action in July there appears to be a worrying twist in the fight for decent pay for local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Following the strikes, the employers’ LGA body (which is made up from Conservative-controlled local councils) appeared to want talks to resolve the dispute which centres on a lousy 2.45 percent pay offer.
After a summer of almost total silence as to how the talks are progressing it now appears that the employers want to use the talks to attack our national conditions, known as the “Green Book”.
Alarmingly, the union has said that the talks are progressing on the basis that “nothing is ruled in, and nothing is ruled out.”
The LGA have made no secret of their desire to tear up our so-called “golden” conditions. It now appears that the unions have opened the door for these attacks.
It is imperative that every Unison and Unite union branch makes it clear to its negotiators that our conditions, including sick pay and enhancements, are not for sale.
When Unison’s national joint committee meets on 18 September to discuss the dispute, they should be clear that if there has been no satisfactory improvement in the pay offer, the next days of national action should be announced.
Local government craft workers in the Unite and Ucatt unions have voted in favour of industrial action.
The ballot was called after the employers offered a 2.45 percent pay offer, with strings attached, which threatens the future of the entire agreement.
The ballot covers craft workers employed under the local government “red book” agreement and covers carpenters, bricklayers, painters, joiners and labourers.
A meeting with the employers was scheduled to take place as Socialist Worker went to press.