Council pay: campaign for strikes

Submitted by AWL on 5 October, 2021 - 10:28 Author: Katy Dollar
Unison placards

Unison members in local government have voted by 79% to reject a 1.75% pay offer. On 1 October the union’s Local Government Committee voted to ballot members on industrial action. Members will start to receive ballot papers in November or early December.

The National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) covers the largest group of employees for collective bargaining purposes in the UK economy. Over 1.4 million workers have their pay and conditions determined within the national framework negotiated in the NJC. The claim submitted by the unions incudes a 10% pay rise for local government workers.

There is a lot to do on the ground to win a strike ballot under the anti-union laws, especially with many workers being atomised by working at home. Strikes would require the largest turnout in a single ballot since the 2016 anti-union law came in. Local government activists should be organising local joint union campaigns to raise the profile of the pay campaign.

The pay offer falls far below what council and school workers need and deserve. It would provide only:

• A 1.75% pay increase (2.75% to those on the lowest pay point)

• Completion of work on term-time-only arrangements

• Discussions on homeworking and mental health joint guidance

• Commitment to incorporate statutory provisions on neo-natal leave and pay.

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