Employers and unions satisfied with pay commission proposals

The Local Government Pay Commission’s report is a “ringing
endorsement of the current national bargaining structure”, the
Employers’ Organisation said this week.

The report, which came out last week, has generally been welcomed
by employers and unions.

GMB national secretary Mick Graham said it “lays to rest any
misconceived arguments which advocate regional pay”.

Set up to look at pay and related issues as a condition of last
year’s pay dispute, the commission recommends that every local
authority should undertake a pay and grading review. They should
also develop an action plan for implementing a pay structure, which
forms part of a long term strategy to address any gender pay gap
revealed by the review.

Unison’s head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “The
commission agrees with us that employers and the government 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

Equal pay rather than low pay was seen by the commission to be
where employers should be focusing their attention. EO executive
director Charles Nolda said: “This is a key area for collaboration
between the employers and the unions. It is necessary to do
everything we can to try to close the gender pay gap.”

But Wakefield said the commission’s decision to reject Unison’s
call for a minimum rate of £6.50 per hour for public sector
workers failed to address the union’s argument that low pay at all
levels of local government leads to recruitment and retention

However, Unison welcomed the commission’s recommendation that
different rates of London weighting should be aligned across the
public sector. “It’s grossly unfair that there is such huge
variation,” said Wakefield. “A monthly tube pass is the same if you
are a policeman or a social worker.”

The commission’s desire to see more investment in training and
development was welcomed by both sides. Nolda said: “The EO will be
throwing its weight behind local councils in managing, training and
developing their biggest resource and asset to improve services and
recruit and retain the best.”

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