Socialist Worker

Local government - time to fight the 1 percent

by John McLoughlin, Unison local government group executive (pc)
Issue No. 2343

The prospect of a fight over pay in local government in England and Wales increased significantly last week.

Unison’s negotiating committee called for rejection of a 1 percent offer.

Insultingly, the employers expect workers to accept strings such as lower car mileage rates even to get 1 percent. Without strings they want to offer just 0.6 percent.

Unite and the GMB, the other major unions in councils, are due to meet to consider the offer this week.

A combined call for rejection would put council workers in the strongest position.

Unison will conduct a consultation exercise with members. Branches determine the method of consultation and it will be essential to campaign for a big turnout and big vote.

Branches should organise as many meetings as possible to get the arguments out for a fight on pay.

A consultative ballot may enable more members to register a vote in some places.

A third of local government workers are in schools, where teaching unions have agreed in principle to resist attacks on teachers’ pay.

Joint work now can help build the mood for resistance and lay the ground for joint and coordinated strike action.

Scottish local government workers in Unison will ballot on their 1 percent pay offer from 15 March

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