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EMPLOYERS STAND FIRM ON REFORM PACKAGE COUPLED WITH THREE-YEAR 7% PAY OFFER

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Local government employers are standing firm over their 2004 pay offer to 1.3 million town hall workers. The offer ...
Local government employers are standing firm over their 2004 pay offer to 1.3 million town hall workers. The offer - made at the opening of negotiations with the unions in March this year - includes a pay rise of 7% over three years plus a package of reforms based on the recommendations of the Local Government Pay Commission, which reported at the end of 2003. Employers meeting in London today agreed to maintain their position.

On top of the 7% pay rise over three years, the employers' side proposes a six-point plan. It consists of:

-A new approach to local pay reviews: to reach local agreement to bring forward comprehensive proposals for modernised pay and rewards policies in all authorities by 31 March 2007

-Reviews of other diversity issues

-A joint review of conditions of service within the national agreement to look specifically at car allowances, annual leave, sickness pay and leave, and maternity and paternity pay and leave

-Local workforce development plans

-Replacing prescriptive premium rates (for shift, evening, overtime and weekend working) in the national agreement with a set of principles as recommended by the 2003 Pay Commission report

-A new agreement on shared principles for modernisation and improvement

Brian Baldwin, chair of the employers' side, says:

'The pay offer is a fair one. It means an inflation-matching 7% over three years in peoples' pockets, plus another 4.5% on the national pay bill to tackle the issue of equal pay in local government. The pay package on the table is a complex one so we want to continue talking to the unions about it around the negotiating table.

'The offer has the overwhelming backing of local authorities around the country, all of whom have set their budgets and their council tax levels for the next year. The employers' side in the national negotiations are keen to reach a negotiated pay agreement within the resources available to local government, without pushing up council tax levels unduly - especially as some authorities face the real prospect of having their budgets capped by central government.'

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