Council staff put in new wage claim

Local government unions in England and Wales and Northern
Ireland have submitted their pay claim for 2004.

The main planks are minimum of £6 an hour, 4 per cent plus
£200 across the board, increased annual leave and better
maternity and paternity leave provision.

Heather Wingfield, head of local government at Unison, rejected
employers’ claims that the deal was unrealistic. She said it
was a “modest claim” on basic pay and that it was a
step towards “meeting some of the recommendations of the
local government pay commission”.

She added that: “It tackles low pay, equal pay, and better
training for the workforce and is aimed at meeting the
government’s agenda for first class public

The claim in full:

• The abolition of spinal column pay points 4, 5 and 6 –
currently £5.33/£5.45 and £5.53 an hour.
•  An increase of 4% plus £200 on all remaining pay
• An increase of 4% on all allowances.
•  Completion of equal pay audits and pay and grading reviews
in every council within two years, in accordance with the single
status agreement, and with additional ring-fenced funding to enable
councils to carry them out.
•  The urgent completion of the training and workforce
development agreement, with targets and deadlines for
implementation and additional ring-fenced funding.
•  An increase to the basic annual leave entitlement to 25
days per year.
• An increase in paid maternity leave to eight weeks full pay
and 14 weeks half pay, and a reduction in the qualifying period
from 52 weeks to 26 weeks.
•  Two weeks paid maternity support leave.
• In respect of a premature birth, additional paid maternity
leave for a specified number of weeks, to be calculated as
equivalent to the period dating from the actual date of the
child’s birth to the due date.
•  Paid adoption leave (in line with paid maternity leave)
for all adoptions of children under 18.

There are more than a million local government workers in
England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

Employers have already rejected the claim as being
“unrealistic” and “unaffordable”. The
claim, say employers, disregards the findings of the local
government pay commission. The commission rejected moves to
substantially increase the salaries of low paid workers and stated
that the current package for local government employees was
comparable to that in other sectors.

Local government employers in England and Wales had earlier
announced plans to seek a three-year pay deal with trade unions.
The employers had wanted to secure an agreement that does not put
pressure on council tax levels, which also looked at:

• new skills pathways for front-line staff
• develop local training and workforce plans.
• review of benefits packages and conditions of service.

Meanwhile, Unison Scotland confirmed that it would be
asking for a “significant pay rise” for council workers
in Scotland when its four-year deal expires this

Unison’s Scottish organiser for local government, Joe Di
Paola, said the claim, which is due to be agreed between the unions
soon, was likely to be for a figure above the rate of inflation
that dealt with recruitment problems and addressed the gender

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