Socialist Worker

Local government unions start pay campaign

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2665

Council workers strike over pay in 2014

Council workers strike over pay in 2014 (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Trade unions representing local government workers submitted a 10 percent pay claim last week.

Unison, Unite and GMB unions represent 1.4 million employees in schools and councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary, said, “Our members deserve a real pay rise.

“It’s high time the government started properly investing in our public services and local government.”

The unions say the claim for the year from next April would see the lowest paid workers earning at least £10 an hour.

They are also demanding a one-day increase to annual leave, a two-hour cut in working week and a review of workplace causes of stress and mental health issues.

The unions said the claim would start to address almost a decade of austerity that has seen services slashed and wages frozen.

Jim Kennedy, Unite national officer for local government, said, “Our members have seen their pay cut in real terms by 22 percent since 2010. They need a substantial pay lift in recognition of the dedicated work that they do to keep council services running smoothly 24/7.”

Workers are coming to the end of a two-year pay deal which included a 2 percent increase each year for most workers, with more for the lowest paid.

Local government unions demanded 5 percent two years ago, but eventually settled for much less.

It’s a welcome step that the national leaderships are now demanding more—but now they need to lead a fight to win it.


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