Local government employees, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, start voting today (Wednesday 11 June) on possible strike action over the ‘insulting’ one per cent pay offer.
Thousands of ballot papers are dropping on the doormats of members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland over whether they wish to take strike action or industrial action short of a strike after enduring four years of pay cuts in real terms. The ballot closes on Monday 30 June.
Unite is seeking a £1-an-hour increase in pay for the local council workforce which has 400,000 employees earning below £15,000 a year and a million earning less than £21,000.
Unite won’t be balloting its members in Scotland where the devolved administration has agreed to pay the ‘living wage’ to all council staff.
The industrial action ballot follows a consultative ballot where members rejected the pay offer for 2014/15 by a 90 per cent margin.
Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: “Our members have endured four years of pay cuts in real terms and they have now said: ‘Enough is enough’ to poverty pay.
“We are expecting a strong mandate for industrial action which could take place on 10 July. Any industrial action that Unite may take will be coordinated with the other local authority trade unions to achieve maximum impact.
“The aim is to get the employers back around the table to negotiate a fair deal for those who deliver vital local government services, from social care to refuse collection, on a daily basis.
“Poverty pay is widespread across local councils and we are seeking a £1 an hour increase across the board for local government workers.”
Unite has about 70,000 members in local government carrying out such jobs as refuse collection, maintenance of council property, traffic enforcement, school support and care services, and grave digging.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.