Unions have condemned employers’ decision to offer council staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland a 0.5% pay increase for 2009-10.
In a letter to Unite, GMB and Unison leaders published today, employers’ secretary Sarah Messenger said the offer reflected the financial position facing councils and the need to be “sensitive to the public perception of the position of public sector workers”.
Threat to withdraw offer
And she warned that, if unions did not agree to the offer by 1 June, it would be withdrawn in favour of a pay freeze.
Unison’s head of local government, Heather Wakefield, said: “I am bitterly disappointed and surprised at the offer. We know that most local authorities have budgeted for an increase of between 1.5% and 2%.”
Messenger said arbitration body Acas’s decision to impose an extra 0.3% last month on employers’ 2.45% offer for 2008-9 had put added pressure on already tight budgets.
Social worker perspective
But GMB national secretary Brian Strutton said: “They ought to look at it from the perspective of care workers or teaching assistants or social workers who are under increasing pressure from society’s demand for services while struggling with the daily cost of living.”
He added: “GMB will naturally want to talk to our members about this meagre offer but I honestly can’t see any prospect of it being accepted.”
Unite national officer Peter Allenson said: “The employers appear to be trying to take advantage of the economic circumstances, which in our view is deplorable. This will do nothing to improve recruitment and retention of local government staff.”
The unions will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to formulate a response to the employers’ offer.
Unison: Council staff must not receive lowest public sector deal