arbitration if pay talks break down is to be opposed by Unison, because it
would undermine negotiations and set the scene for a big national dispute.
The proposal, from the national Employers' Organisation, would rule out
Unison's head of local government Malcolm Wing said:
'The arbitration clause in our national agreement has never been used.
However, the threat that either party can refer a matter to arbitration
concentrates minds. It is clear that a number of councils feel that without
the threat of arbitration, they could have offered less than the 3.5% pay
increase agreed earlier this year.
'The Employers' Organisation acknowledge that we have a very good record of
negotiating agreements in difficult circumstances. Ending arbitration would
undermine that good record and set the scene for a big set piece national
dispute sooner rather than later.'
The issue will be discussed at a joint meeting of the National Joint Council
on 23 October 2001.
Unison has 800,000 members employed in local government. The National Joint
Council covers 1.3 million local authority employees in England, Wales and