Union launches blueprint on how to boost pay for worke...

Union launches blueprint on how to boost pay for workers across the South West

09 March 2017

Unite, the biggest union and foremost experts on pay in the South West have launched a blueprint for boosting workers’ pay amid rising inflation and slow pay growth in 2017 (see notes to editors).
Unite is already protecting thousands of workers’ pay packets throughout 2016 and into 2017 through the union’s negotiations with employers across the South West, including Airbus, the Royal Dockyards and First Bus Weymouth. Now the union has launched a ‘Pay Claim Guide’ to support Unite representatives in how to formulate arguments and table demands to improve pay and conditions.
Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey said: “Unite is determined to give workers the tools they need to improve their working lives. The biggest union and the foremost experts on pay in the South West have launched a blueprint to help workers boost their pay.”
“The pay packets of workers at companies like Airbus, the Royal Dockyards and First Bus Weymouth are supporting many working class communities across the region because they have a strong union in the workplace.
“Unite has also launched a powerful new online tool to help workers across the South West protect themselves from attacks on their pay from employers. The new database will give union negotiators unparalleled access to pay data for their region and their industrial sector giving workers more power during negotiations with employers.”
The new online tool now available to Unite negotiators shows that across 50 of Unite’s biggest workplaces throughout the South West almost 3 quarters secured increases keeping up with, or outstripping inflation. A quarter of workplaces secured pay deals at three percent or above. (see notes to editors)

Unite negotiated a three year deal worth a total increase of 7.8 per cent for bus workers at First Bus Weymouth and Bridport in the South West. The union also secured significant increases in sick pay. However when pay negotiations begun the company was offering no pay increases at all, but a well organised campaign including strike action delivered a pay deal which recognised the workers’ contribution to the success of the business. Unite’s strike fund supported First Weymouth workers through months of tough negotiations and enabled the workforce to deliver an exceptional result.

Unite South West regional secretary Peter Hughes said:  Unite’s strike fund supported First Weymouth workers through tough negotiations which delivered an exceptional result.  Without the  £96,000 paid out from that fund, drivers and their families would have been starved of income and negotiations would have collapsed.  Instead workers held fast and secured a deal rightly due from the employer.
Workers at Airbus and the Royal Dockyards in Plymouth, big employers across the region, have secured pay increases outstripping inflation.Thousands of workers at the dockyards secured a pay deal worth almost 7 per cent over three years to the end of this year.
John Bennett, Unite convenor from Babcock Royal Marine Devonport said: “We negotiated a three year deal worth nearly 7 per cent on behalf of workers. It has given the workforce some certainty at a time of economic uncertainty. Having a well organised union helped us in tough negotiations with management. We put in a lot of work and did a lot of research to predict how the economy would look three years into the future and it paid off.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed how across the whole region’s economy wages declined by almost 6 per cent since 2008.
Unite has launched a revolutionary online tool for the union’s negotiators which allows them to access a database of thousands of pay deals across the South West. The database means union negotiators will be armed with details of the latest and best pay deals meaning employers will not be able make bold claims about their pay offers.

For further information please contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Twitter: @unitetheunion
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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.

Unite’s pay claim guide can be found here

Unite’s study is based on the rate of inflation measured by the Retail Price Index based on the midpoint of 2016 where it reached 1.6 per cent in June.