Council staff offered ‘full and final’ £1,290 pay rise for 2024-25

    Employers say proposal - worth about 3-4% for social workers - is at the limits of affordability, but unions say it is 'disappointing' and that staff will feel 'let down'

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    Photo: md3d/Fotolia

    Employers have offered council staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland a “full and final” pay rise of £1,290 or 2.5%, whichever is higher, in 2024-25.

    They said that the offer, which will be topped up for those working in London and pro-rated for part-time employees, was at the limits of affordability for councils. It is worth about 3-4% for social workers (see box).

    However, the unions, who lodged a claim for 10% rise this year, said staff deserved a “decent pay rise” and would feel “let down”, setting the scene for a protracted dispute over this year’s pay round.

    What the offer means for social workers

    • The offer applies to the vast majority of councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – those covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC) agreement.
    • The NJC employers have offered staff on pay points 2-43 outside of London a rise of £1,290, with those higher up the pay scale offered 2.5%. The minimum for pay point 43 is £51,515 a year on a full-time wage.
    • The £1,290 will be topped up for those working in the capital to take account of London weighting.
    • For a newly qualified social worker social worker outside of London on the minimum of pay point 23 (£32,076), the proposal is worth 4%.
    • For a more experienced social worker on the minimum of pay point 30 (£38,223), it is worth 3.4%.
    • For a senior social worker on the bottom of pay point 35 (£43,421), it is worth 3%.

    Offer lower than last two pay rises

    As well as being below UNISON, GMB and Unite’s claim, the proposed deal marks a reduction from the at least £1,925 staff received in each of the past two years, though inflation has fallen over that time.

    Average prices rose by 3.2% in the 12 months to March 2024, according to the government’s preferred consumer prices index, compared with 10.1% over the previous year.

    The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is predicting it will average 2.2% in 2024 and 1.5% in 2025, suggesting the proposed offer for 2024-25 would amount to a small real-terms increase for most staff.

    The employers also rejected all other elements of the unions’ claim, including a two-hour reduction in the working week, to 35 hours (34 in London), an additional day’s annual leave and a phased approach to a minimum wage of £15 an hour over two years, up from £11.59 now.

    ‘Affordability’ for councils key driver of proposed deal

    In a letter to union leaders, employers’ secretary Naomi Cooke explained that the offer was shaped by councils’ financial position.

    “The most important factor in formulating this response has been affordability. We have a duty to balance your claim against the interests of local residents, in terms of the level and quality of services provided by local authorities.

    “The proposed increase will be difficult to fund in a number of local authorities and anything beyond that would take many more authorities well beyond their level of affordability.”

    The proposal would add 4.03% to the relevant councils’ pay bills, less than the 7.5% increase in spending power – the total amount councils have available to spend – that the government says it has made available to English authorities in 2024-25 compared with the previous year.

    However, it comes with many councils already struggling to balance their books, such that one in nine authorities with social services responsibility in England had to seek emergency financial support from the government this year.

    Staff ‘will feel let down’ 

    At the same time, they are facing severe pressures in relation to adult social care, children’s services and other areas.

    In response to the offer, UNISON head of local government Mike Short said: “Council and school staff deserve a decent pay rise for the vital support they provide to communities. But this offer falls short of the union’s reasonable claim.

    “Many workers will feel let down because their household bills continue to rise. UNISON will consult representatives over the coming days before deciding the next steps.”

    For the GMB, national secretary Rachel Harrison said the proposed deal appeared “disappointing”, but the union would now speak to its local branch leaders to determine its position.

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    19 Responses to Council staff offered ‘full and final’ £1,290 pay rise for 2024-25

    1. Nicki May 16, 2024 at 8:46 pm #

      If they gave staff a proper pay rise they would stay within the sector plus it would make people want to work in social care in the future . They are paying out a significant amount in agency staffing across the country and paying them more than the qualified staff and their managers! Which impacts on staff morale , It’s ridiculous. If I had my time again I wouldn’t go into health and social care! I’d be earning more money in the beauty industry, with a hell of a lot less stress and responsibilities!

    2. Ryan May 16, 2024 at 9:06 pm #

      That is very disappointing. I was hoping that worst case scenario would be another offer of £1925 this year.

    3. Rebecca May 17, 2024 at 5:07 am #

      Gutted, I will be voting for strike action then and I hope everyone else does too.

      I was hoping we get at least 1920 again, a slap in the face.

    4. Andy May 17, 2024 at 9:00 am #

      Why is everyone so bloody greedy . That’s more than fair in this climate. Get it paid .

      • craig May 17, 2024 at 4:17 pm #

        Nothing to do with greed….basic bills and ost of food etc

    5. Kelvin May 17, 2024 at 9:12 am #

      Increase council tax to the highest it’s ever been but offer us less LOL. Yeah right voting to strike. At least the same offer as last year.

    6. Mike Militant May 17, 2024 at 9:34 am #

      Strike! Target the General Election dates.

    7. Ashley May 17, 2024 at 10:24 am #

      We have been left with no choice then but to vote for STRIKE action. They are taking us for fools and we can’t allow them to.

    8. Disrespected May 17, 2024 at 10:36 am #

      An insulting offer, showing how little they value local government staff.

      Hopefully the unions reject, properly campaign and organise, and members actually vote in numbers (unlike the poor turnout last year).

      If you think it is a fair offer, please consider:-

      – This equates to between just 25% (highest earners) to 43% (lowest earners) of the union’s pay claim
      – £635 less than last year’s offer
      – Average annual wage growth is currently 6.1%
      – MPs had a 5.5% uplift
      – Pensions went up by 8.5%
      – Minimum wage for those aged 21+ went up 9.8% (the lowest NJC scale point (as a minimum) should match this in my view to ensure local government is not a low wage employer)

    9. TARIRO MUWUNGANI May 17, 2024 at 10:56 am #

      This is very disappointing!

    10. GerryT May 17, 2024 at 11:15 am #

      The unions asked for 10% of £3000 which was never going to get offered.
      Last year they asked for 2% above rate of inflation.

      This year the people on the low end of the scale are offered 5.77% which is 2.57% above CPI which sits at 3.2%
      and 1.47% above RPI which sits at 4.3% so they are offered what the unions believed was a good claim last year.

      If this is refused and the unions do what they have done the previous 2 years it will be held off to December without any meaningful increase and then accepted. The people in the lower grades will have their pay rise back dated and if they are claiming UC they will lose this for a month. This means they pay back their pay rise.
      Just something to think about before we all talk about strike action.

      • Shezzy May 17, 2024 at 12:16 pm #

        Absolutely spot on!

    11. Isy May 17, 2024 at 12:11 pm #

      Disappointing offer, just show how valued we are.

    12. Titus May 17, 2024 at 12:19 pm #

      This is just insulting! Shows exactly the contempt against this sector. They think we live on air or we dont have to pay for rent or clothes or food. Haven’t been on holiday for years because cannot afford it !In this job stress would kill you, demoralising that no one really cares! The nature of social work involves dealing with emotionally charged situations, which can lead to high stress and burnout especially if you have to worry about yourself, your kids,the bills, your health…. This emotional toll can make people leave the profession for good. Let’s see why we pay the unions!

    13. Ricky Smith May 17, 2024 at 2:02 pm #

      The last two years, the government has used the term “Full and final”, to be fair, they have meant it.

      Just take the pay rise this year please, as the last two year’s there has been strikes etc….. and the government hasn’t backed down on their “Full and final” pay offer.

    14. Fedup May 17, 2024 at 2:41 pm #

      When we short staffed we get agency at a rate of 600+ a day. Somehow there is money for that. But no money to retain and award staff that actually knows what they are doing

      • Claire S May 17, 2024 at 6:02 pm #

        Blimey where is that? If I could get £600 a day on the agency I’d join tomorrow.

        In London, and as a senior manager, I pay agency around £240-£260 a day, which is of course more than a employee but that includes the agency costs, the SW doesn’t get as much.

        But as the employer I don’t have to pay sickness, or NI contributions or pension contributions.

        Yes I agree SWs should get paid more for the job they do. But sadly I’d concur with those warning caution. And certainly when it comes to strike action, how many can actually afford to strike and lose the pay?

    15. Lou May 17, 2024 at 4:26 pm #

      It is going to be another year where we wait for months on end for the 3 unions to actually get sorted and communicate, just for the offer to be accepted in November anyway! Then its one lump sum payment where people on UC will get a nil award and so will lose their UC that month and end up no better off!! I think its shocking we haven’t at least been offered the same as last year but they aren’t going to budge on that offer, I don’t think! It would be nice to just get a rise ASAP!

    16. WasteOfTime May 17, 2024 at 6:14 pm #

      I can’t wait for the unions to reject this, spend months balloting and then original employer offer gets accepted in December. There’s literally 0 point in trusting the unions will get anything beyond this.

      If we were nurses the government would be moving heaven and earth to give out decent pay rises. I do sympathise with local authorities though, as we wouldn’t be in this position we’re it not for 14 years of rule from the nasty party

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