Employers dismiss ‘unrealistic’ pay claim as threat to jobs and services

Local government employers have branded a joint pay claim from
unions representing local government workers as “unrealistic and

Unison, GMB and the Transport and General Workers Union set out
their demands last week, including a 4 per cent plus £200 pay
rise, a £6 an hour minimum wage and a 25-day basic annual
leave entitlement.

They also want a 4 per cent increase on allowances, maternity leave
increased to eight weeks on full pay and 14 weeks on half pay and
the abolition of the three lowest pay grades, which pay between
£5.33 and £5.53 an hour.

“This is an unrealistic and unaffordable pay claim because it will
add another 5.26 per cent to the £14.7bn local government pay
bill,” a statement from the Employers’ Organisation said.

It described as “unfortunate” the unions decision to kick off the
negotiations in this way, adding that such a claim could “only put
jobs and services at risk”.

But Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government, said the
claim on basic pay was “modest” and tackled “low pay, equal pay and
better training for the workforce”.

The unions are calling for the completion of equal pay audits and
pay grading reviews in every council within two years and for
additional ring-fenced funding to enable councils to carry them

They also want the urgent completion of the training and workforce
development agreement, with targets and deadlines for its

TGWU deputy general secretary Jack Dromey said: “The employers must
now listen and the government needs to make the necessary resources
available because 80 per cent of town hall finance comes from

Meanwhile, results of a ballot of the Community and Youth Workers
Union due next week are expected to reveal that members are in
favour of industrial action over pay and conditions.

General secretary Doug Nicholls said 4,000 more youth workers were
needed to meet government targets, yet some part-time workers had
not had a pay rise for 20 years.

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