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Unions given two options on pay

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Unions have been given two options to choose from as negotiations over local government pay continue, LGC can reveal.

A crunch meeting with employers held on Thursday has resulted in two offers being made following trade unions’ claim for a “substantial” pay rise following a three year salary freeze.

One union source said: “After waiting three years for a pay offer we’ve now got two.”

Sources told LGC that one options was a flat rate increase of 1% for all staff if changes to terms and conditions are also made. A second option would mean only low earners received 1% while higher paid employees received 0.6%.

For the first offer of a flat 1% pay rise for all, employers want current car allowance mileage rates to be replaced with the lower HM Revenue & Customs rate. They also want the unilateral arbitration agreement to be replaced by bilateral arbitration agreement meaning the unions would not be allowed to call in arbitrators ACAS without employer agreement.

The first option also includes an extra day of holiday and an improved deal for staff transferred out of council employment and then back again so they can claim continuous service up to 10 years rather than the current five.

The second option would see staff on spinal column points four to 10, those paid up to around £14,000 a year, receive a 1% increase while those on higher spinal column points would only receive 0.6%.

Union sources said they had been told the second option would become the default offer if the first option were rejected. Trade unions are expected to respond next month.

The LGA, which represents employers in the negotiation process, said the two options were not “pay offers” but refused to discuss details while negotiations were ongoing. A spokesman said: “The discussions today were very progressive and we will wait to hear back.”

The employers’ side have long made it clear they would like to break the three year long pay freeze but have said they want changes to terms and conditions in return. However, unions have expressed their reluctance to negotiate on terms and conditions, fearing the net effect will be a reduced package for staff.

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