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Second strike over pay dispute

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Local government and school support workers are set to strike for the second time in a dispute over pay.

Staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to go on strike on Tuesday 30 September. Scotland is not involved in the dispute.
The announcement follows the strike on 10 July, which according to Unison saw about a million public service workers taking part. The LGA said 95% of council staff were working normally during the strike.
The union is calling on the LGA to engage in further talks to resolve this year’s pay dispute, while the LGA has urged Unison to reconsider its decision to hold a second strike.

Unison said the current offer would see 90% of local government and school support workers receive a 1% pay increase, on the back of three successive years of pay freezes and below inflation rises in 2013 and 2014.
Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government, said: “The strike on 10 July sent a strong message to the employers that local government and school support workers are fed up and angry with being exploited. It is a disgrace that so many workers and their families are forced to live on poverty pay.

“There was widespread public support for our members, the majority of whom are low paid and part-time women workers whose good will has been taken for granted for too long.
“Despite four years of vicious government cuts, they continue to educate and support children in schools, maintain crucial local services, keep our communities clean and safe places to live and protect the homeless and vulnerable.
“No local government or school support worker should be paid below the living wage. It’s time for the employers to come back to the negotiating table and work with us to secure a decent offer for our members and end this damaging dispute.”

Responding to Unison’s announcement, an LGA spokesman said: “Most local government staff did not vote to strike and the vast majority did not take part in strike action earlier this month. Both GMB and Unite have confirmed that they will not take part in this further strike. We urge Unison to reconsider.”

The spokesman said the pay increase offer was “at the limit of what councils tackling the biggest cuts in living memory can afford” and added: “The sooner Unison, Unite and GMB accept this pay offer, the sooner this money can reach our employees who have been waiting for it since April.”

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