Staff working for councils and in schools are worth more than the 1.75 per cent pay offer put forward by employers after working though the worst of times, say unions representing local authority workers..

Unite, Unison and the GMB are urging local government employers to rethink their revised pay offer of a 1.75 per cent pay rise (with 2.75 per cent for those on the bottom pay point) for 2021/22 by awarding an increase that will properly and fairly reward council and school support staff. 

The unions say the offer falls well short of the 10 per cent claim they put forward for this year.

Last month, the unions offered to work with the Local Government Association (LGA) on a joint campaign to make the government provide additional funds to finance the wage rise. However, the LGA rejected the move, refusing to put pressure on the government to improve pay.

Unite national officer Jim Kennedy said: “Local government workers will see right through the employers’ false claims that this is a pay rise. It is nothing of the sort. It’s yet another miserable real-terms pay cut.

“Local government employers are guilty of rank hypocrisy. On the one hand, they say they recognise the critical work that our members have undertaken, especially during the pandemic, and on the other, they are intent on imposing a real-terms pay cut on workers.

“If the employers have any conscience whatsoever they will not be able to sleep at night after making such a miserable, morale-destroying pay offer.”

UNISON deputy head of local government Mike Short said: "A 0.25 per cent increase on the initial 1.5 per cent offer is insignificant. Council staff have kept communities clean and safe, protected the most vulnerable, and worked in schools throughout successive lockdowns to allow others to work.

“Their courage and sacrifices need to be rewarded, yet the employers are failing to recognise their efforts. There’ll be a huge impact on morale.

“Employers say they’d like to give council staff more, but they’ve refused to work with us to get the money.

“These workers, mostly women, are amongst the lowest paid in the country and have seen their pay drop substantially in recent years. This 1.75 per cent offer is nowhere near what’s needed. Reps from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland will now decide the next move.”

GMB national secretary Rehana Azam said: “School staff, refuse collectors and council workers have kept our country moving through the coronavirus crisis, often putting themselves in harm's way.

“Now they are being told by local government employers all they deserve is a pay cut. It's a woeful pay offer.

"Local government employers refused to jointly make representation with the unions to the chancellor on pay, which is frankly disgraceful.

“Local government workers know they need a proper pay rise – and this isn’t it. GMB will now meet with reps to discuss the next steps for a ballot on the offer and if this leads to industrial action, members will have our full support.”

Notes to editors:
- The pay deal is for staff working in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Pay for local government workers has dropped in real terms by over 20 per cent  in recent years. 
- Each union will now meet with their committees whether to accept or refuse the offer.

Media contacts:
UNISON – Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: [email protected]
GMB – Press Office M: 07958 156846 E: [email protected]
Unite – Barckley Sumner M: 07802 329235 E:[email protected]