Trade unions Unite and GMB have tabled a pay claim on behalf of local government craftworkers, which is seeking a downpayment on ‘pay justice’ for members.
The workers who are covered by the terms and conditions of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Local Authority and Craft Associated Employees (Red Book agreement) primarily undertake housing and maintenance work on council and social housing properties. Tens of thousands of workers are impacted by the agreement.
The pay claim is for at least a five per cent increase across all trades, a 35 hour working week, an additional day’s holiday, tool allowance to be doubled from current rates and tool insurance to be paid to a minimum of £2,000.
Since the Conservative government introduced its austerity policies in 2010, workers covered by the Red Book have seen their pay rates fall by 20 per cent.
The Red Book agreement and the workers covered are separate to the National Joint Council “Green Book” local government employees, who received a pay offer last week.
Unite national officer for local authorities, Jim Kennedy, said, “Workers report they can’t afford life’s essentials like accommodation, food and heating. They simply can’t make ends meet.
“Local government craftworkers have had their pay cut by a fifth in real terms since 2010. A five per cent pay increase would be a downpayment in beginning to win pay justice for workers.
“The continuing cuts which craftworkers have borne the brunt of, has stripped the sector of its workforce, created persistent job insecurity and resulted in huge increase in workloads for the remaining workers left to pick up the pieces,” he added.
“Without a dedicated workforce, repairs and improvements will not be undertaken. This is a totally false economy as when the work is finally completed it will be in far worse state of despair, greatly increasing costs and the time needed to put things right.
“Central government needs to put its hands in its pockets and find the funds available to fund this much needed pay rise.”