Trade unions representing 40,000 local government craft workers have submitted their annual pay claim.
The unions Unite, UCATT, the GMB and the CSEU are seeking a 7.5% pay increase for local authority craft workers in England and Wales over the next 12 months to compensate for below inflation rises for the last four years.
In recent years the rates of skilled craft workers in local government have fallen far below the rates of skilled workers in the private sector. A fully skilled local government craft worker’s annual salary is just £13,972 compared to £20,888 in the private sector. A skilled local government carpenter’s rate is also substantially below that of a private sector labourer, whose pay will be £15,717 from July 2008.
In a full and comprehensive pay claim the joint unions are also seeking a substantial increase in extra payments and allowances, increased holiday entitlement and an enhancement to the bereavement leave.
In order to address the growing skills shortage of craft workers in the public sector the unions are also calling for a large increase in the number of apprentices being trained in local government.
John Allott, Unite National Officer for Local Government workers, said: "Pay increases over the last four years have been below inflation. The pay gap between local authority craft workers and private sector craft workers has widened. This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed in this year's pay round. Industrial action is a strong possibility if a below-inflation offer is tabled again.”
Alan Ritchie, General Secretary of construction union UCATT, said: “Skilled local government craft workers dedicate their lives to serve their local communities. They deserve to be paid fairly. The poverty rates of pay they have been forced to live on must be ended.”
Last year craft workers in local government were reluctantly forced to accept a 2.4% increase in pay, far below the rate of inflation. To add insult to injury the pay increase was finally delivered nine months late.
For further information contact please contact Catherine Bithell on 020 7420 8909 or 07958 473 224, www.amicustheunion.org/localauthorities/
Notes for editors
1. Local authority craft workers include electricians, heating and ventilation technicians, carpenters, construction workers, plumbers, gas engineers, roofers, locksmiths, street maintenance workers and painters
2. Unite is the largest Trade Union in the UK, with 2 million members, including 26,000 craft workers employed by local authorities.