'Paltry offer'

“Disappointing” council pay offer ignores huge Covid effort of workforce, say unions

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Unions representing 750,000 council and school support staff across England, Wales and Northern Ireland criticised a recent 1.5 per cent pay offer made by the Local Government Association.

GMB, Unite and UNISON submitted a joint pay claim to the local government employers in February for a 10% pay rise. This would be payable from April 1, 2021.

The unions say the joint claim represents a decent wage rise that’s both necessary to put a stop to poverty pay in local government and schools, and recognises the crucial role played by staff during the pandemic.

Unite national officer for local government Jim Kennedy said, “This offer fails to recognise the legitimate aspirations of our members who have seen 25 per cent wiped from their pay packets during a decade of Tory council cuts.

“They are key workers who have kept services running smoothly during the pandemic and well-resourced councils are critical to the ‘levelling up’ agenda.

“This paltry offer will be debated by our special national local government committee next week which will decide the way forward in the campaign for pay justice.”

UNISON head of local government Jon Richards added, “This is a disappointing offer, especially after a year in which council staff have done so much to help local communities gripped by the pandemic.

“Council staff will feel that their efforts over the past 15 months haven’t been recognised.

“Unions will now discuss the offer with their national local government committees before formally responding. It’s likely they’ll want the employers to think again and come back and negotiate an offer that better reflects the worth and value of the dedicated school and council workforce.”

Meanwhile, GMB national secretary Rehana Azam said, “Our members in local government have kept schools and councils across the country going throughout this pandemic.

“We’re extremely disappointed with this offer and doesn’t meet the pay claim we set out for – which was a substantial increase,” she added.

“We will now meet with our senior reps on Monday, decide how to respond and demand immediate talks with the employers.”

GMB, UNISON and Unite will now consult with their national committees before deciding on their next steps. The three will be seeking a meeting with the LGA as soon as possible.

By Ryan Fletcher

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