Unison, GMB and Unite have demanded that councils give staff a pay rise of at least the level of inflation next year with more for employees on the lowest wages.
They called for a “one-year, across-the-board pay increase of at least the level of retail price inflation with additional increases for the lower paid” next year.
Employers’ 2008-9 offer of 2.45% for staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland compares to a 5% retail price index inflation rate for September and unions’ claim of 6%. Pay rises from 2004-8 also failed to keep pace with RPI inflation.
However, inflation is predicted to fall over the coming months meaning an inflationary deal for 2009-10 may not involve a high percentage increase.
Strike in July
Unison and Unite held a two-day strike over the offer in July before all three unions agreed to refer the dispute to Acas in September. Both sides have agreed to be bound by Acas’s decision, though employers have warned that too high a settlement could cost jobs or lead to service cuts.
The unions have also proposed terms of reference for arbitration, which are now being considered by employers. These are:-
- That no further industrial action will take place during the arbitration process or following Acas’s decision.
- Any pay award will be implemented in full without delay.
Meanwhile, Unison, GMB and Unite members in Scotland are being balloted over employers body Cosla’s offer of 3% for 2008-9 and 2.5% for 2009-10.
All three unions have recommended staff reject the offer, which falls short of their 5% claim, though represents an increase on Cosla’s original offer of 2.5% a year from 2008-11. This was revised upwards following two one-day strikes.
However, Cosla has warned that the offer will be retracted if union members reject it, saying it is the “best deal possible”.
The ballot closes on 12 November.
Employers ready to talk in Scotland pay row