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The three unions in local government today welcomed recommendations* of the (NJC) Local Government Pay Commission w...
The three unions in local government today welcomed recommendations* of the (NJC) Local Government Pay Commission which support the national pay bargaining system over regional bargaining, concerted action to secure equal pay and more investment in training and development.

However, Unison, the T&G and GMB expressed disappointment that the commission did not address their evidence on key pay issues, particularly how far local government workers have fallen behind the rest of the public sector.

Unison national secretary for local government Heather Wakefield said:

'The commission's report is a wake up call to the employers and the government. It agrees with us that they must do better on training and development, address the gender pay gap, and not use casual contracts as a cost cutting measure otherwise local government will cement its place as the poor relation of the public sector.

'However, its findings on basic pay levels and staffing have not adequately addressed our arguments that low pay at all levels of local government impacts badly on recruitment and retention.'

More from Unison below.

T&G deputy general secretary Jack Dromey said:

'The forgotten army of a million council workers staged the biggest strike in 20 five years for justice on low pay and equal pay last July. The Local Government Pay Commission report now provides the opportunity for a new settlement, linking a better deal for public servants to improved public services.

'Managers and ministers must not miss a historic opportunity. The deputy prime minister should convene a pay and improvement summit meeting of councils, ministers and trade unions to lay out the path to turn the report into reality.'

GMB national secretary Mick Graham said:

'The commissioner's report clearly demonstrates that a highly trained and highly motivated workforce is essential to deliver the government's public services improvement agenda. The way forward is to concentra te on the very good recommendations on equal pay and training and development.

'The report also lays to rest any misconceived arguments which advocate regional pay. Instead the report defends our national pay bargaining system. We welcome the report and look forward to taking some of the points from recommendations to realities.'

The unions will further consider their response to the report before preparing a pay claim for local government workers to be lodged in January next year.

* Full details of the Local Government Pay Commission recommendations here.

Press release from Unison follows.

Local government pay commission report challenges inequalities

After a year of deliberations, the commission set up to tackle low pay in local government has delivered its verdict ??? workers deserve a better and fairer deal.

Unison, which represents 850,000 local government workers, welcomed the commission's report for 'offering a unique and overdue opportunity to thoroughly overhaul the treatment of local government staff and human resource management'.

The commission was set up after Unison members took strike action in July last year and made it impossible to ignore the poverty pay in many parts of the system. One of Unison's key concerns at the time was the gender and race inequalities between workers in the structure.

The report agrees with the arguments put forward in the Unison and trade union side evidence to the commission - the need for equality at the bargaining table and mainstreamed throughout local government is a key theme.

'I particularly welcome the rejection of regional pay bargaining and the commission's support for the national agreement as flexible enough to allow councils to respond to local labour markets and deliver customer focused services,' said Unison national secretary for local government Heather Wakefield.

The report supports national bargaining, the single status agreem ent and a local government job evaluation scheme. It also calls for a more strategic approach to workforce matters and investment in single status and training.

The report warns of local government becoming 'the poor relation of the public sector' and admits that councils are very short of money. But it sees no reason why there should not be investment in both services and staff.

'Equality in local government is a necessity, not an option' it says, and '??? is part of improving services'.

'The commission's recommendation that above inflation pay increases could be justified on equality grounds is a hopeful sign for a workforce in which inequality remains a persistent feature,' Ms Wakefield said.

Key recommendations of the report are:

Above inflation pay increases could be justified on equality grounds;

every local authority should undertake a pay audit as part of a longer-term strategy plan for addressing the gender pay gap;

the NJC should investigate issues of pay and rewards for particular groups such as term-time and part-time workers. The Commission found a 42% pay gap between part-time women and full time men;

London weighting needs to be reviewed and consideration given to aligning the different rates of London weighting across the different parts of the public sector;

there is continued support for job evaluation to ensure 'proper evaluation and ranking of jobs'???'the use of an equality proofed JE scheme is the way forward.';

No support for regional wage bargaining or determination. The commission found the national agreement provides sufficient flexibility to allow individual councils to develop their own approaches to pay;

there is a deficiency in pay statistics to underpin bargaining;

work life balance policies and practice are not targeted or linked to service delivery needs;

flexible working is 'strongly endorsed' but ???'there is a difference between 'flexibility by employees' and 'flexibility for employees';

there sh ould be equality of access to training and 'skills ladders';

the single status agreement provides a good basis for moving forward on equal pay and modernisation of pay and rewards.

* Read Unison's summary of the LGPC's report here.

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