Low earners benefit from two-year deal

Local government unions and employers have agreed a two-year deal
on pay and related issues after a six-week consultation.

Local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
will 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 deal, brokered by arbitration service Acas last month, was
overwhelmingly accepted by members of Unison, TGWU, the GMB and the
75 per cent of councils that responded. Brian Baldwin, chairperson
of the Employers’ Organisation’s negotiating team, expressed relief
that councils had accepted the offer.

“We know there have been some reluctant ‘yes’ votes and that the
settlement will be difficult for many councils to afford, but it
was the best that could be achieved,” he said.

All directly employed local government workers will receive a 3 per
cent pay rise backdated to 1 April this year and there will be a 1
per cent increase from 1 October, with an additional 1 per cent for
the lowest paid (news, page 8, 8 August).

Next April there will be a further 3.5 per cent increase and an
additional 1 per cent for the lowest paid. The new minimum rate
will be £5 an hour for the lowest paid workers backdated to
April this year, rising to £5.32 an hour from April

The settlement also involves the establishment of a local
government pay commission which will report in September 2003.

It will produce detailed research on the extent of low pay and its
impact on staff and service delivery. The commission will also
examine the gender pay gap.

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