Unite’s local government members will stage targeted industrial action at councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in March, after rejecting a 1.75 per cent pay offer in a ballot of more than 300 local authorities.


More than 80 per cent of Unite’s 70,000 members, who voted in nearly 400 separate ballots, were in favour of industrial action over the 1.75 per cent offer made by the Local Government Association (with 2.75 per cent for those on the bottom pay point) for 2021/22. 


Council workers from Belfast to Bath to Ipswich have said loud and clear: ‘We are worth more’. 


The union said that the employers’ offer was and remains ‘completely unacceptable’, given that the RPI rate of inflation has raced ahead to 7.8 per cent. (A list of councils, where the legal threshold for industrial action has been met and where action will be taken, will be unveiled soon). 


Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members helped keep public services running during the pandemic, holding our communities together at a time of national emergency. 


“Unite’s message to the Local Government Employers is your offer is completely unacceptable, think again and put a proper pay rise to our members.


“Our members have the full support of their union as they get ready to take industrial action in the spring.”


Unite national officer for local government Jim Kennedy said: “We had an excellent turn-out with 82 per cent of those voting supporting industrial action, reflecting our members’ disgust at the pay offer. 


“From Belfast to Bath to Ipswich, Unite members have said ‘enough is enough’ and we demand fair pay.


“We were proud to ballot our members as that reinforces our democratic mandate in this tough fight for pay justice.”


Unite is seeking a 10 per cent uplift in pay for council workers who have experienced a real terms pay cut of 22 per cent over the last 11 years. 




Notes to editors: 


Unite’s ballots of its members involved workers covered by the ‘Green Book’ national agreement, such as refuse collectors and care staff. The ballot also covered ‘Pink Book’ staff, which is for youth and community employees, and the ‘Red Book’ for craft professions and trades.


For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065.


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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.