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Pay offer leaves both sides dissatisfied

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Proposals to end local government’s three-year pay freeze have been met with dismay by both unions and employers.

News of the pay offer was followed by the announcement that another council would leave the national bargaining system.

Under the plan unveiled last week by employers’ negotiators, staff will receive a 1% pay rise in exchange for alterations to terms and conditions, such as reduced mileage rates.

A fallback option of a smaller pay rise was also tabled if unions rejected the changes to conditions - see below.

But the head of the largest local government union said the offer had caused “uproar” among members.

“It is extremely disappointing that the employers can’t even offer our members the public sector going rate of 1%, without deductions,” Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government said.

“People are very angry at the punishment option two and feel the employers are not engaging in collective bargaining at all”.

Several employers have also criticised the offer.

Northamptonshire CC is set to leave the national negotiations process next month to introduce its own changes to terms and conditions.

These include cuts to sick pay and mandatory holiday, designed to save £16m over the next four years.

Chief executive Paul Blantern said the LGA had not “gone far enough”.

“If you are going to pay more, given the austerity times, we would ask for stronger changes to terms and conditions,” he said.

The LGA’s response to union demands for a “substantial” pay rise has led to renewed questions about whether the national negotiation process is delivering for employers.

Oxford City Council and Medway BC are also set to leave the national structure this year and Louise Tibbert, the Public Sector People Managers’ Association’s lead on pay, said other authorities are considering their position.

“Budget pressures and issues about national collective bargaining are making some councils review whether a move to local pay bargaining would be more beneficial,” she said.

However, Ms Tibbert, also Hertfordshire CC’s head of HR, described the LGA’s offer as “pragmatic”. “It would be difficult to put more money on the table but we would have looked for a more robust commitment from the unions to engage in discussions about change.”

Unions are to discuss the proposals over the next three weeks with Unison due to meet on Wednesday afternoon and Unite to meet on Thursday. GMB are expected to meet next week.

 

Option 1

  • 1% pay rise for all staff National Joint Council mileage rates replaced by HM Revenue and Customs rates
  • Bilateral arbitration is brought in for national pay bargaining
  • Minimum holiday increased from 21 to 22 days
  • More generous continuous service entitlement
  • Joint statement of issues for ‘immediate serious discussion’

Option 2

  • 1% for staff on pay points four to 10 (up to about £14,000)
  • 0.6% for higher earning staff
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Readers' comments (1)

  • Perhaps Ms Tibbert could explain to the TU's what is meant by change because hitherto it is a euphemism for taking T&C's away and there has been a lot 'quid' taken away in the last three years and no 'pro quo'.

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