Unite the union is to hold a consultative ballot to see if its 70,000 workers in local government want to proceed to an industrial ballot, with options up to strike action, following the ‘derisory’ pay offer of 1.75 per cent.
Unite is furious at the 1.75 per cent offer earmarked for council staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland made by the Local Government Association (with 2.75 per cent for those on the bottom pay point) for 2021/22.
Unite will hold the consultative ballot from Wednesday, September 1 to Monday, October 4, as anger mounts across the public sector at The Treasury’s desire to supress wage increases for key staff, despite the immense sacrifices that public sector workers have made during the continuing 18-month fight against coronavirus.
Unite national officer for local government Jim Kennedy said, “Our members have made a huge contribution to keep public services running during the continuing Covid crisis – they have been the glue that have held the fabric of our society together at a time of national emergency.
“They have kept schools open, cared for our elderly, ensured the bins are emptied regularly, buried our dead and kept our libraries functioning – but this offer of 1.75 per cent is an insult and way below the RPI rate of inflation, currently standing at 3.8 per cent,” he added.
“The contemptible treatment of these key workers contrasts sharply with the ‘them and us’ standards of this government, where ex-Tory prime minister David Cameron rakes in millions in dubious circumstances from Greensill Capital and ‘friends’ of the Tory establishment are fast-tracked to highly-profitable PPE contracts,” Kennedy went on to say.
“We can see the ‘dead hand’ of The Treasury at work trying to suppress the living standards of our members and it is time for chancellor Rishi Sunak to loosen the purse strings and ensure local authority employees receive the pay rise they deserve.
“Our members, who have seen more than 20 per cent wiped from their pay packets during a decade of Tory council cuts, are furious at the derisory pay offer,” he continued.
“Therefore, we are holding a consultative ballot of our 70,000 members to see if they wish to proceed to an industrial action ballot in the autumn, with options up to strike action.”
Unite, the GMB and Unison are seeking a 10 per cent uplift in pay for council employees.
By Shaun Noble