Unite’s local government members will stage targeted industrial action at councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in March, after rejecting a 1.75 per cent pay offer in a ballot of more than 300 local authorities.
More than 80 per cent of Unite’s 70,000 members, who voted in nearly 400 separate ballots, were in favour of industrial action over the pay offer made by the Local Government Association (with 2.75 per cent for those on the bottom pay point) for 2021/22.
Council workers from Belfast to Bath to Ipswich have said loud and clear: ‘We are worth more’.
Unite said that the employers’ offer was and remains ‘completely unacceptable’, given that the RPI rate of inflation has raced ahead to 7.8 per cent.
“Our members helped keep public services running during the pandemic, holding our communities together at a time of national emergency,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.
“Unite’s message to the Local Government Employers is your offer is completely unacceptable, think again and put a proper pay rise to our members,” she added.
Graham vowed that Unite members have the full support of their union as they get ready to take industrial action in the spring.
“We had an excellent turn-out with 82 per cent of those voting supporting industrial action, reflecting our members’ disgust at the pay offer,” said Jim Kennedy, Unite national officer for local government.
“From Belfast to Bath to Ipswich, Unite members have said ‘enough is enough’ and we demand fair pay,” he added.
Unite is seeking a 10 per cent uplift in pay for council workers who have experienced a real terms pay cut of 22 per cent over the last 11 years.
“We were proud to ballot our members as that reinforces our democratic mandate in this tough fight for pay justice,” said Kennedy.
A list of councils, where the legal threshold for industrial action has been met and where action will be taken, will be unveiled soon.