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Strike action looms as pay offer is rejected

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A day of strike action remains on the cards after a proposal containing a 2.2% pay increase was rejected by Unison.

The union has declined to explain why it took this stance. The other two local government unions, GMB and Unite, told LGC they had been willing to consult their membership on the new pay offer, which proposed:

  • a 2.2% increase for the majority of employees
  • the introduction of a new minimum hourly rate of £7 per hour
  • ‘non-consolidated lump sum payments’ of £100 to £325
  • a long-term deal to run from 1 January 2015 (i.e. not backdated to 1 April 2014) through to 31 March 2016

In a letter sent out to chief executives, leaders, and directors, Sarah Messenger, head of workforce at the LGA, said: “This situation is enormously frustrating and highlights the failure of Unison’s national leadership and activists to approach national negotiations in a strategic way with a view to the medium and longer-term.

“They have, we believe, done a great disservice to the overwhelming majority of their ordinary members by not allowing them to make up their own minds on the details of the revised pay proposal.”

Unison refused to comment on the letter when contacted by LGC.

Brian Strutton, GMB’s national secretary, described the new proposal as “quite a complex” offer.

“It’s like curate’s egg – good in parts, bad in others,” he said.

Mr Strutton said it was “frustrating” and “disappointing” that a larger pay offer could not have been proposed and that Unison was not prepared to consult its members.

“The new proposal is nothing to get carried away with, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it was different to the 1% offer rejected many months ago,” he said. “That’s why we were keen to put it in front of our members so they could work out as individuals whether they liked it or not. Some will, some won’t. I think it’s a great shame the employers couldn’t put a bit extra on the table because that would’ve helped a lot.”

Mr Strutton said he had called a meeting, which will take place on Thursday, of GMB’s national shop stewards to discuss what to do in relation to the proposed day of strike action on October 14.

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