UNISON recommends members REJECT insulting pay offer
UNISON members covered by National Joint Council (NJC) pay bargaining are currently being consulted over the sector-wide employers’ pay offer.
UNISON’s NJC Committee has recommended that members REJECT the offer and show support for a programme of industrial action as part of our ongoing campaign for pay justice.
The North West Local Government Service Group, UNISON’s biggest and whose representatives led the call for rejection, is now supporting branches to encourage full engagement in this important consultation and deliver a resounding REJECTION of the offer.
NJC pay is the largest collective bargaining group in the country and covers over a million workers in local authorities, schools and various other public bodies and employers providing local government services. If this two-year offer is implemented as it stands it will mark eight consecutive years of falling pay value in real terms for the vast majority of this workforce.
The local government unions’ pay claim for 2016/17 was for the ‘real’ Living Wage (which is rising to £8.25 per hour outside London and £9.40 per hour in London from 1 April 2016) as the minimum NJC pay point, and a £1 per hour rise at all other points.
The sector employers’ response is a two-year offer of just 1% in each year, with additional increases at the bottom of the scale so that employers meet their legal obligation to pay the forthcoming statutory National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour. That additional increases are needed to lift NJC pay up to statutory minimum levels – which are still significantly lower than the real Living Wage - shows just how far the real term value of pay has plummeted for this workforce.
The offer does not come close to meeting our claim and is both inadequate and unfair:
- It does not even begin to address the already existing 20% real terms pay cut suffered by NJC workers since 2010.
- Changes in the rules on National Insurance contributions will mean that local government pension scheme members will be paying up to 1.4% more in National Insurance from 1 April 2016.
- The offer is for two-years, which passes the risk of inflation rising onto the staff. RPI inflation is currently 1% but predicted to rise up to 3% in 2017 and higher in 2018.
Research from the National Policy Institute, commissioned by UNISON, shows that over half the cost of meeting the unions’ pay claim is self financing to Government through increased tax and NI take and reduced in-work benefit payments. Which is good for Government, good for NJC workers, good for public finances and good for local economies with increased consumer spending capacity. By contrast the sector employers’ offer will deepen in-work poverty.
These are just some of the reasons UNISON is recommending its members REJECT this offer and indicate support for ALL of the industrial action options set out in the consultation.