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LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIONS WELCOME PAY DEAL

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Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive a 7.7% pay rise over two years - with ...
Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive a 7.7% pay rise over two years - with 10.9% for the lowest paid - after an ACAS-brokered pay offer was overwhelmingly accepted by members of the three unions in local government, Unison, GMB and T&G.

The three unions today announced the results of a six-week consultation process on the pay offer. The rises will start flowing into the pay packets of 1.3 million local government workers from next month.

750,000 council staff staged a one-day national strike in July to highlight low pay in local government, a campaign which drew massive public support.

Under the terms of today's deal, all directly employed local government workers will receive a 3% pay rise from 1 April this year, with a 1% increase from 1 October and another 1% for the lowest paid. On 1 April, 2003, there will be a 3.5% increase with an additional 1% for the lowest paid.

From 1 April this year, there will be a new minimum wage of£5 an hour in local government for the lowest paid, up from£4.80 an hour, while from 1 April 2003, it will rise to£5.33 an hour.

The pay deal also involves the setting up of the Local Government Pay Commission, which will provide a vital opportunity to tackle the long term structural problems which have led to low pay in local government.

The commission, due to report in September 2003, will produce detailed research and evidence on the extent of low pay in local government and how it impacts on staff and service delivery; the precise nature and causes of recruitment and retention problems; the nature and extent of the gender pay gap in local government; and comparisons between pay in local government and elsewhere in the public and private sectors.

The unions also want the commission to look at the impact of privatisation on pay and conditions of directly employed staff and new starters.

Unison head of local government, Heather Wakefield said:

'Unison members have given the thumbs up to the ACAS proposals in the firm expectation that the Local Government Pay Commission will give detailed examination to all the serious pay and recruitment problems which still bedevil local authorities.

'They will expect government and the employers to be prepared to act upon the commission's evidence in the 2004/2005 pay negotiations through investment in the workforce.

'Our members continue to deliver and improve local services on low and unequal pay and unpaid overtime. The pay commission must signal an end to that.'

T&G national organiser Jack Dromey said:

'The biggest strike in a generation, backed by the public, has put the

plight of local government public servants centre-stage.

'Our members have won real progress now, with a 10.9% increase for the

lowest paid, and built a powerful platform for the future, with the

establishment of the Local Government Pay Commission.'

GMB national secretary, Mick Graham said:

'This is a welcome increase for our 277,000 local governmentworkers who are mostly women and part time, who will ultimately receive£5.33 an hour.

'It is a much deserved pay increase and a start to valueing the vital services that local government workers provide in our communities.

'The GMB would like to thank the public for their instrumental support in achieving recognition of the very serious issue of low pay in British public services.'

* COUNCILS AGREE TO THE ACAS BROKERED PROPOSALS TO SETTLE THE PAY DISPUTE(The employers' statement)

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