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UNION SAYS REPORT VINDICATES ITS CLAIM FOR£4,000 IN LONDON WEIGHTING

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Unison, representing 130,000 public sector workers in Greater London, today welcomed the GLA's finding that London ...
Unison, representing 130,000 public sector workers in Greater London, today welcomed the GLA's finding that London weighting should rise significantly but criticised the proposal that it be paid on a percentage basis.

Unison's head of local government in London, Julia Coleman, said the GLA's Scrutiny Reportwas a total vindication of Unison's claim for a rise in London weighting for public sector workers to£4,000.

'Finally it has been recognised that public sector workers in London are being short-changed - and that the fair way to redress the problem is to pay employees fairly for the cost of working in the capital,' she said.

'But it should not be paid on a percentage basis; a 33% uplift for police will mean more in real terms than a 33% uplift for further education staff, who are among the lowest paid.

'We also remain convinced that inner and outer London is now a single labour market with increasingly similar living costs, and there should be a uniform rate across the capital.'

Unison is concerned that the committee has adopted a market comparison approach which will not produce fair pay and equality for all public sector workers.

'We believe that the cost comparison approach is the only fair way to determine London weighting, and that Bill Knight, chair of the panel was right when he said that whether you work for a bank or as a nurse you occupy the same seat on the tube,' Ms Coleman said.

NOTES

1. Unison is involved in an industrial action campaign in local government in support of its£4,000 claim for a flat rate inner and outer London weighting.

Further strike action will take place on 17 July. Claims for£4,000 have also been lodged in London universities and further education colleges.

2. Unison welcomes the following aspects of the GLA scrutiny report:

- it accepts the need for London weighting to be increased.

- the figures it uses for Greater London vindicates the claim for a£4,000 increase.

The figures show that an uplift of 22% is required throughout Greater London. This would mean an increase of£4,004 on an average Local Authority salary (excluding London weighting) in Greater London.

- it shows that public sector workers in London are subsidising public services in London because they are working for lower real pay than public sector workers in other parts of the country.

- it recognises that there are no 'key workers' and that all public sector workers are part of a team delivering essential services in London.

3. However it is disappointed in the following aspects:

- the market forces approach means that the real problem of high living costs, particularly housing are not taken into account.

Unison argued in its submission to the GLA that the cost compensation approach should be retained as the fairest way of determining a London premium.

Private sector comparisons will not deliver fair public service pay, in the same way that an unfettered private sector housing market has not delivered affordable housing for Londoners.

- comparisons with pay outside London will also create more uncertainty, since the differential between pay in London and outside is likely to be more volatile than the cost differential.

The suggestion that London weighting should be paid on a percentage basis will mean that higher paid groups will end up with higher levels of London weighting, which will create divisions. For example, a 33% uplift for police will mean more in real terms than a 33% uplift for further education staff.

It will also mean that low paid and young workers who are facing the brunt of high living and housing costs will end up with less than their better paid colleagues.

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