Council workers across England and Wales vote to strike

Coordinated industrial action across nations inevitable as rising prices and a decade of falling wages bite

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Nearly 3,000 workers at 16 councils across England and Wales have voted for strike action over pay, Unite said on Friday (July 28).

Further ballots are also to set to close in the coming weeks, with even more council workers voting for strike action over a pay offer of just £1,925 – equating to an increase of between 4 per cent and 9 per cent depending on individual grades.

In reality, this is a real terms pay cut for all workers. Council workers have seen their wages decline by over a quarter in real terms since 2010 due to wage freezes and below inflation pay increases.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Over the last decade, local government workers have seen their pay plummet in real terms. Rising prices have pushed many to the brink – they need a proper pay rise now. Unite will never stop fighting to defend and improve workers’ jobs, pay and conditions and our local government members have their union’s unwavering support.”

Unite has balloted thousands of local authority members, with workers providing council services in Bath and North East Somerset, Cardiff, Chesterfield, Cornwall, Coventry, Cumberland, Cynon Valley, Darlington, Derby and North Tyneside, Gwynedd, Ispwich, Plymouth, Sefton, Warrington, Wigan and Wrexham the first to vote for strike action.

Next week, senior Unite reps from councils across England and Wales will meet to decide a plan of action regarding the strike votes.

Unite national officer Clare Keogh said, “Coordinated industrial action at councils throughout England and Wales is inevitable and workers at more local authorities will soon be joining those who have already voted to strike. This is because of the entirely inadequate pay offer from local authority employers. The employers need to come back with an offer our members can accept.”

By Ryan Fletcher