Local government employees, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, voted overwhelmingly today (Monday 30 June) against the ‘insulting’ one per cent pay offer.
Unite’s local government staff will now join up to two million council workers and teaching staff in taking strike action on Thursday 10 July against the government public sector austerity pay policies.
Unite’s members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted by 68 per cent to take strike action and by 79 per cent to take industrial action short of a strike after enduring four years of cuts in real terms.
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 voted overwhelmingly to strike on 10 July to drive home the message to ministers that ‘poverty pay’ in local government must end.
“The depth of feeling on the pay issue is reinforced by the fact that local government unions, GMB and Unison, and members of the National Union of Teachers are all taking action on 10 July.
“Poverty pay is widespread across local councils – household bills continue to soar, but our members’ buying power is constantly being eroded. The national minimum wage will soon overtake local government pay scales; members are choosing between heating and eating.
“For too long the council workers have been targeted to bear the brunt of the austerity measures that have been imposed by millionaire cabinet ministers since 2010.
“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.”
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 did not ballot its members in Scotland where the devolved administration has agreed to pay the ‘living wage’ to all council staff, currently £7.65 an hour and £8.80 in London.
Unite has about 70,000 members in local government carrying out such jobs as refuse collection, street cleaning, 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
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.