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Deal on 2.2% pay rise looks set to go ahead

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Proposals for a 2.2% pay rise for the majority of local government staff, with improved cash lump sum payments, are likely to be accepted by both union members and councils, LGC understands.

Senior figures on both sides of the negotiations have told LGC they believed the hard-fought negotiations had resulted in a package that would be acceptable to their respective parties.

Strike action, due to take place on Tuesday, was suspended last week. The move came after the LGA, on behalf of employers, offered to consult councils on proposals to increase pay by 2.2% for all staff earning £14,880 and above, with higher percentage increases for those earning less than this. The deal would run from 1 January 2015 to 31 March 2016.

Unite said the new offer would see thousands of the lowest paid employees getting a rise of up to £1,065 a year from 1 January.

A 2.2% pay rise was originally proposed late last month, but was rejected by Unison.

Brian Strutton, national secretary at GMB, told LGC the main change from that offer was an additional cash lump sum worth 0.45% of salaries of £22,500 and above. He said beneficiaries would receive £100 in December with the remaining balance paid in April.

Mr Strutton said: “We are going to be saying [to members] it’s the best that can be achieved through negotiation so members will be weighing up this package against the alternative which would mean long-term industrial action.

“We wouldn’t be putting this to our members if we didn’t think there was a better than average chance that members would find it acceptable.”

Asked whether GMB had encouraged Unison to accept the offer, Mr Strutton said: “We didn’t put pressure on Unison to say they had to take the offer…We all recognised there was a problem and needed to work together to solve that.”

Fiona Farmer, Unite’s national officer for local authorities, told LGC the latest proposal was “the best achievable by negotiation”.

Asked whether she thought the proposals would be acceptable to councils, she said: “I can’t speak for councils but I think if there was a huge reaction to this we would’ve heard about it by now because most of the details have been out there for the last few weeks.”

Sarah Messenger, head of workforce at the LGA, said: “We had to make a judgment whether councils might be prepared to consider it and we think it [the proposal] is worth putting in front of them. We hope the vast majority of councils think it’s the best deal we can do in the circumstances.”

Unison and GMB expect to start consulting members on the proposal on Monday (20 October), while Ms Messenger said councils would be consulted as soon as possible.

 

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