Local government union leaders have accused employers of showing “massive disrespect” to their members by refusing to discuss a proposal to increase their 0.5% offer.
GMB, Unison and Unite were angered by the offer for staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for 2009-10, which Unison’s head of local government, Heather Wakefield, described in April as “ridiculously low”.
No response to “modest” claim
The unions rejected the offer, despite being threatened with a year-long pay freeze if they did so. They criticised employer representatives again this week for failing to respond to a “modest” proposal to resolve the dispute from unions, tabled after negotiations on 21 May.
The unions have not specified what the proposal is but say it reflects the 2.2% pay increase they claim councils have already budgeted for, and includes an extra 1% for the lowest paid, above the 0.5% offer.
Pay increase “due on 1 April”
The lack of communication from Local Government Association party group leaders amounted to “massive disrespect for our members”, Wakefield said.
She added: “Their pay increase was due on 1 April.”
The Unison leader said some councils who were not part of the national negotiations had made pay offers above 2%.
The Local Government Association declined to respond to the unions’ accusations but a spokesperson said employer representatives were meeting next Tuesday to sort out the pay issue.
Long-running dispute – 2008
The employers’ 0.5% offer came just one month after a long-running dispute over a proposed 2.45% increase for 2008-9 came to an end.
Following exhaustive negotiations and a two-day strike, arbitration body Acas imposed a 2.75% settlement on both sides.
Pay freeze in store as unions reject 2009 pay offer