UNISON local government workers’ Christmas message to George !

On 17 October 2012 The National Joint Council (NJC Trade Union Side) submitted the following claim for a pay increase for our members in 2013 – 2014:

“A substantial flat rate increase on all scale points as a step towards the longer term objective of restoring pay levels and achieving the living wage as the bottom NJC spinal column point.”

The full claim can be downloaded at http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/B6085.pdf

In 2013/14 the Treasury is proposing to take £1.1 billion as its central “share” of business rates generated within local authorities. That money would otherwise – and should – be available to local government and could help protect services and begin a process of restoring local government pay to at least a level that reflects the cumulative impact of inflation since 1997. It could go towards funding an increase on the gross local government paybill of circa 4% (and the total gross paybill would still be £0.44 billion less than if projected using the OBR central forecast of growth in average earnings).

UNISON local government workers sent the following message to the Chancellor:


“Dear Chancellor,

On the day of the financial settlement and with national pay talks soon to open, we would like you to fund local government sufficiently for the workforce to be given a decent and real pay rise.

The cumulative effect of a three year total pay freeze has seen the value of our earnings fall by 13% in real terms just since 2009.

On the back of previous low rises our pay is now worth 10% less than it was in 1996.

A miserly pay offer for 2013 will do nothing to stop the drastic decline in our living standards.

Local government pay is the worst in the entire public sector and at virtually every level is lower than comparable private sector pay. Our bottom pay point is just 10p above the National Minimum Wage and 18.25% below the Living Wage. A significant number of us rely on in-work benefits and tax credits just to make ends meet.

And 200,000 local government jobs have been lost since 2010 (Local Government Association figure, June 2012).

We are an important part of the local economy – spending 52.5% of all our disposable wages locally. But with a rapidly falling value in earnings there is barely enough to cover housing costs, utilities, basic essentials and feed our families. So there is no money left to spend.

That has a direct impact on your growth targets, which are largely dependent on consumer spending (the biggest single factor in the OBR forecasts).

Yet 56% of the cost of any rise in average earnings is recovered by the Government through direct and indirect taxation. With further returns from reduced Government spending on in-work benefits and tax credits. And a boost to the economy from having money to spend in the shops.

So have a heart this Christmas. Give local government the money for a proper rise in pay. It’s the just thing to do. And the financially prudent thing for your economy.

Season’s greetings,

from UNISON North West’s 98,000 local government members.”

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