Trade unions have lodged a claim for a pay rise of £250 for all local authority social care workers, including high earners, in 2011-12.
Unison, GMB and Unite, which represent 300,000 social care workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said councils could afford this “small increase” because they have “billions in their reserve funds stashed away”.
“Surely this is the rainy day they’ve been saving for,” said Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government.
Chancellor George Osborne announced in his emergency budget in June that the 1.7m public sector workers earning less than £21,000 a year would 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 the unions have called on employers not to freeze pay for the second year running, appealing to them instead to extend the £250 pay rise to staff at all salary levels next year.
“Our members’ pay and conditions have been attacked nationally and locally,” said Peter Allenson, national organiser for Unite.
“Nationally, pay has not kept up with inflation. For example, last year employers implemented a pay freeze, but when inflation was taken into account it was a pay cut in real terms.”
In January, employers said they would not offer staff a pay increase in 2010-11 in order to protect frontline services.
The Local Government Association rejected a claim from unions for a 2.5% or £500 pay rise, whichever would have been greater, from 1 April 2010 on the basis that it would have added 2.8% to the local government pay bill.
Details of forthcoming budget allocations for individual councils will be published in late November or early December, after the comprehensive spending review next week.
Local Government Employers said it would respond to the unions’ claim later.
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