Unite’s local government members are currently holding strike ballots in response to the ‘pathetic’ 1.75 per cent pay offer branded as ‘completely unrealistic’, given the scale of the looming cost of living crisis.

Unite’s 70,000 local government members, employed across 321 councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland,  are voting on whether to take strike 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. The ballots are due to close by 25 February.

Unite today (Thursday 27 January) called for a resounding vote for strike action as inflation is set to soar in the spring with the energy price spike. The RPI rate of inflation now stands at 7.5 per cent, which the union views as a more realistic measure of living costs than the CPI rate of 5.4 per cent that government ministers fall back on.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Today, Unite is calling on its local authority members to give us a massive mandate for strike action over the employers’ pathetic offer of 1.75 per cent. Such a vote will send a clear message to Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak that local government can no longer be the poor relation when it comes to public expenditure – they need to loosen the purse strings.

“Our members have made a huge contribution to keep public services running during the continuing pandemic.  They have held our services together at a time of national emergency. With the energy price and tax hikes on the way, Unite is determined to ensure the Local Government Employers think again and offer our members a decent pay rise that reflects the cost of living crisis that is set to decimate household budgets in 2022.”

Unite national officer for local government Jim Kennedy said: “Our hardworking and dedicated council staff are saying ‘enough is enough’ and that they won’t accept this completely unrealistic offer. They have kept schools open, cared for our elderly, ensured the bins are emptied regularly, buried our dead and kept our libraries functioning – and their sterling efforts need to be properly valued, as many of them are struggling on poverty pay rates.”

Unite is seeking a 10 per cent uplift in pay for council workers.


Notes to editors: 

Unite’s ballots of its members at the 321 councils involves workers covered by the ‘Green Book’ national agreement, such refuse collectors and care staff; the ‘Pink Book’, 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.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

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.