Members of Unite and GMB, covered by the local authority “red book” agreement in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, are now focussing on local disputes to improve terms and conditions.

Red book agreement

Members of Unite and GMB working under the red book rejected the local government employer’s final offer as it fell short on a number of key points. Unite’s members recorded a 78 per cent no vote against the offer. However, as the larger local government ‘green book’ bargaining group has accepted the offer, it was reluctantly decided that it should be accepted for red book workers. This will ensure that members received a much needed pay boost and to prevent employers from simply imposing the offer on workers.

Unite and GMB are now actively pursuing local disputes. It will target councils where red book workers are well organised and are fully prepared to undertake disputes over increases to terms and conditions. The strategy began this year with a number of councils, including several in Northern Ireland, staging distinctive red book disputes over pay scales.

Local disputes

Unite national officer for red book craftworkers, Jason Poulter, said: “Given the situation that red book craftworkers have found themselves in,  the pay offer for our members has reluctantly been accepted.

Unite is now focussing its energy on supporting red book workers who are prepared to launch disputes in local councils. Where local members have clear issues and are willing to take industrial action they will have Unite’s total support.”

Members disappointed 

GMB national officer George Georgiou said: "GMB members remain disappointed this offer nowhere near matches RPI (retail price index), nor does it address many other aspects of our claim which may now be pursued locally. 

 "GMB members will continue to fight to improve their working conditions in the light of the worst economic situation for decades."


The red book agreement covers local authority craftworkers who are primarily involved in housing maintenance work.

Local government employers’ made an offer of an increase of £1,925 on all pay grades, an increase of 4.04 per cent on allowances. However, the offer still amounted to a real terms pay cut. The offer also failed to address the decade long pay restraint policies that have seen local government pay decline by over 30 per cent in real terms.


Notes to editors

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067 or Email: [email protected]

GMB Press Office on 07958 156846  Email: [email protected]