Local government unions and employers have both accepted
proposals for a two-year deal on pay and related issues, following
a consultation period, writes Clare
Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
are to receive a 7.7 per cent pay rise over two years with 10.9 per
cent for the lowest paid workers from next month.
The pay offer brokered by arbitration service Acas, was
overwhelmingly accepted by members of Unison, the Transport and
General Workers Union and GMB.
The Employer’s Organisation also received the highest
level of response to a consultation exercise that they have ever
had. Seventy five per cent of councils responded and 94 per cent of
respondents were in favour of the deal.
However, numerous councils commented on the difficulties they
will face in funding the deal.
Brian Baldwin, chairperson of the employers’ negotiating
team, said: “We know that there have been some extremely reluctant
‘yes’ votes, and that the settlement will be difficult for many
councils to afford, but it was the best that could be achieved in
the difficult circumstances.”
All directly employed local government workers will receive a 3
per cent pay rise from 1 April this year, under the terms of the
deal, and there will be a 1 per cent increase from 1 October, with
another 1 per cent for the lowest paid.
On 1 April 2003 there will be a 3.5 per cent increase with an
additional 1 per cent for the lowest paid. The new minimum hourly
rate will be £5 an hour for the lowest paid workers from April
this year, and next April this will rise to £5.32 an hour.
There will also be a local government pay commission set up as
part of the settlement to tackle the long term structural problems
which have led to low pay in local government.
The commission is due to report in September 2003,
producing detailed research on the extent of low pay, how it
impacts on staff and service delivery, and the causes of
recruitment and retention problems.
It will also look at the gender pay gap, and compare pay in
local government to elsewhere in the public and private
The unions are urging the commission to look at the impact of
privatisation on pay and conditions of directly employed staff and