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NATIONAL PAY DEAL SETTLED IN 10 MONTHS

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The national pay award for local government workers has finally been settled after a marathon 10 months of negotiat...
The national pay award for local government workers has finally been settled after a marathon 10 months of negotiations between the unions and the employers.

The announcement today was expected to state that both sides have accepted the revised offer of 7.8% over two years, with a 10.9% increase for the lowest paid. The creation of a local government pay commission to look at the future of the pay negotiations is also part of the deal.

All three unions - Unison, the GMB and the T&G - voted to accept the offer negotiated with the Arbitration and Conciliation Advisory Service. Unison voted 4-1 in favour while the two smaller unions gained a higher majority, which was expected to be 9-1 in favour.

Members from the employers' side 'reluctantly agreed' to accept the deal. Out of the 75% of councils which responded to the consultation, 94% voted in favour. But some north-west councils remain unhappy with implications of the deal which they say will force them to outsource services.

Although the pay award only represents a third of what the unions originally asked for, as it is phased in over two years, the creation of the pay commission was the crucial concession that made the deal work. The hope is that when the commission reports in a year's time it will pave the way for quicker and more amicable settlements.

Brian Baldwin (Lab), chair of the employers' negotiating team, said: 'We are pleased and relieved that councils have accepted the ACAS-brokered pay proposals. We know there have been some extremely reluctant 'yes' votes and that the settlement will be difficult for many councils to afford, but it was the best that could be achieved in the difficult circumstances.'

Discussions are continuing about the make up of the local government commission on pay and related issues and its terms of reference. Employers will want to ensure that flexible working and the modernisation of pay and rewards are on the agenda.

The unions hope the commission will tackle issues such as delays in implementing single status, the gender pay gap and the impact of privatisation.

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