GMB members in local government have voted to accept this year’s 2.45% pay offer for staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, though leaders described it as a “vote against strike action”.
The decision, carried by a four to one majority in a consultative ballot, has created a split in the trade unions representing council workers, with Unison and Unite balloting members on industrial action.
GMB national secretary Brian Strutton said: “Let there be no doubt that this pay offer is only being accepted because the alternative would be strike action and many GMB members cannot afford to lose pay to go on strike. That is the economic reality at the moment but it is clear from all our feedback that the mood is changing.”
He warned that members would not accept a “paltry” offer in 2009-10.
Aimed to avoid split
Unions had been aiming to avoid the split that characterised last year’s pay negotiations, when only Unison balloted on industrial action, after Unite and GMB accepted the 2.475% deal.
In an interview with Community Care, Strutton said division this year would play into the hands of the government and local government employers, who negotiate pay.
Unite local government pay campaign