Unions are planning to submit a claim for a pay rise of £250 “as an absolute minimum” for all council-employed social care workers, including high earners, in 2011-12.
Chancellor George Osborne announced in his emergency budget in June that the 1.7 million public sector workers earning less than £21,000 a year will receive a flat-rate pay rise of £250 in each of the next two years. Those paid more will be subject to a two-year pay freeze.
But Unison, GMB and Unite, which represent 300,000 social care workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, have proposed extending the £250 pay rise to staff at all salary levels in 2011-12.
“We think it’s the absolute minimum people should get,” said Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government.
She acknowledged a growing financial strain on councils, which have been told to make more than £1bn efficiency savings in 2010-11, but argued that £250 was a “modest and sensible” claim.
The unions are planning to submit their claim for 2011-12 even though this year’s talks have yet to be resolved. The 2010-11 claim was for pay to rise by 2.5% or £500, whichever was greater, but Local Government Employers has refused to offer any increase.
As part of the 2011-12 claim, Unison, GMB and Unite have also proposed a joint review of the public sector working conditions set out in 2008-9.
Delegates at this week’s Trades Union Congress annual conference in Manchester passed a motion calling for joint industrial action, which could lead to strikes if ministers do not reduce the scale of public sector cuts.
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