Local government pay: Unions accuse bosses of ‘disrespect’

Local government union leaders have accused employers of showing “massive disrespect” to their members by refusing to discuss a proposal to increase their 0.5% offer.

GMB, Unison and Unite were angered by the offer for staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for 2009-10, which Unison’s head of local government, Heather Wakefield, described in April as ridiculously low”.

No response to “modest” claim

The unions rejected the offer, despite being threatened with a year-long pay freeze if they did so. They criticised employer representatives again this week for failing to respond to a “modest” proposal to resolve the dispute from unions, tabled after negotiations on 21 May.

The unions have not specified what the proposal is but say it reflects the 2.2% pay increase they claim councils have already budgeted for, and includes an extra 1% for the lowest paid, above the 0.5% offer.

Pay increase “due on 1 April”

The lack of communication from Local Government Association party group leaders amounted to “massive disrespect for our members”, Wakefield said.

She added: “Their pay increase was due on 1 April.”

Opting out

The Unison leader said some councils who were not part of the national negotiations had made pay offers above 2%.

The Local Government Association declined to respond to the unions’ accusations but a spokesperson said employer representatives were meeting next Tuesday to sort out the pay issue.

Long-running dispute – 2008

The employers’ 0.5% offer came just one month after a long-running dispute over a proposed 2.45% increase for 2008-9 came to an end.

Following exhaustive negotiations and a two-day strike, arbitration body Acas imposed a 2.75% settlement on both sides.

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