Unison and Unite to meet Local Government Employers for pay talks

Unison and Unite have postponed further strike action after agreeing to more talks with the Local Government Employers.

Unison issued a statement today saying it would not name a date for any further action. It said: “Progress will be monitored over the coming weeks and the decision reviewed in September.”

The announcement of further talks came a week after mass strike action across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

At least 40,000 social care workers joined an estimated half a million council employees in a 48-hour walk-out in the unions’ protest at the employers’ 2.45% pay offer.

Before the strike, Unison’s head of local government Heather Wakefield threatened employers with a “sustained and escalating” programme of industrial action this year.

But Wakefield said today: “It is vital that we get this dispute sorted as soon as possible. Our members cannot afford to be the poor relations of the public sector. If the employers are serious about making local government an employer of choice they must realise they have some catching up to do.”

Discussions will be held in spite of the Local Government Employers’ insistence last week that “there is no more money in the pot for this year’s pay settlement”. The LGE said it was willing to discuss employment terms and conditions, however.

Unison members in the social care sector said further strikes should not be ruled out.

Social worker John Davies, who is the assistant branch secretary of Unison’s Tower Hamlets branch in London, said that the strike was successful and more action could be organised.

“I’m hoping it won’t come to that but my head tells me the government will take a lot to be persuaded”

He added  that the government’s pay freeze for public sector workers amounted to a pay cut.

Earlier this month, the chancellor Alistair Darling reiterated his call for restraint on pay increases in the public and private sectors.

External information

Unison – local government homepage

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