Local government unions Unison, GMB and Unite today said industrial action over pay was “inevitable” after registering a formal dispute with Local Government Employers.
The unions are to ballot members, including those in social services, on industrial action “in the near future” unless Local Government Employers, which represents English councils on industrial relations issues, failed to increase its 2% offer.
Pay talks between the two sides broke down last week. Unison, GMB and Unite claimed the employers had been unable to agree among themselves what line to take in the negotiations and that many councils had already budgeted for a rise of at least 2.5%. The unions claimed a 5% pay rise for 2007-8; the retail price index measure of inflation was 4.2% in June.
Unison’s head of local government, Heather Wakefield, said: “The employers need to get their act together, behave like responsible employers and improve their offer.”
A Local Government Employers spokesperson denied there was confusion in its position and said 2% remained its official offer. He emphasised the deal had to be affordable for council taxpayers and reflected an expenditure framework set by central government.