Local authority social workers will be asked to support strike action over pay

Employers accuse Unison of ‘further delaying’ the process of awarding council staff a 1% pay rise backdated to 1 April

Unison will ballot its social work and other local government members on whether to go on strike after 70% voted to reject this year’s pay offer, the union confirmed today.

Council employees in England who earn £14,880 or more have been offered a below-inflation pay rise of 1% from 1 April 2014, while those on lower salaries would receive an increase of up to 4.66%.

“Our members have made it clear that this pay offer is the straw that breaks the camel’s back after years of pay freezes and below-inflation rises,” said Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government, as the union today announced its decision to hold the ballot.

“Local government workers have kept services running in our communities in the face of the government’s harsh austerity agenda, and they deserve more than just a bare minimum pay increase.”

Responding to Unison’s announcement, a Local Government Association spokesman said: “In an unprecedentedly tough financial climate, councils are committing to ensuring that employees receive a pay rise and that the lowest paid receive the biggest increase. It is frustrating that Unison has failed to recognise this.

“We know that these have been difficult times for the local government workforce who have worked wonders to keep vital local services running while councils are tackling the biggest cuts in living memory.

“The pay offer we have made would increase by 1% the pay of most employees, while those on the lowest pay would receive a larger increase. We believe that this is a fair deal for our employees, given the limits of what we can afford, and a fair deal for the taxpayers and residents who use and pay for the crucial services which local government provides.

“In calling for strike action, Unison is further delaying the process of council employees receiving a pay increase this year.”

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