Unite local government members prepare to ballot for summer strikes as pay offer rejected
- Wednesday 3 May 2023
Members of Unite, employed by local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, have overwhelmingly rejected, the local government employers’ pay offer for 2023/24.
Members, who cover many frontline roles including refuse collection workers, housing workers and care staff, returned a 75 per cent rejection of the pay offer which is worth between 3.88 per cent and 9.42 per cent depending on the worker’s individual grade. With the true rate of inflation (RPI) currently standing at 13.5 per cent this amounted to a further substantial real terms pay cut for all members.
Line in the sand
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members undertake vital frontline roles that ensure that local communities are well maintained, safe and attractive places to live, they have now drawn a line in the sand and will not accept any further erosion of their pay.”
Unite will now swiftly move to a full industrial action ballot for its local authority members. Balloting is set to begin before the end of this month and if workers vote for industrial action then strikes could begin before the school summer holidays.
Decade of misery
Local authority workers have endured over a decade of pay freezes and below inflation pay increases which has seen their pay decline by over a quarter in real terms.
The current pay offer for local government workers is inferior to the previous years’ offer (which was a further real terms pay cut) despite inflation being at an even higher level than a year ago.
Summer of strikes
Unite national officer Clare Keogh said: “Council leaders need to wake up and be aware they are facing a summer of strikes unless local government employers return to the negotiating table and propose a vastly improved pay offer.
“Our members are heavily invested in the communities where they live and work. But a decade of real terms pay cuts mean that many are being forced to vote with their feet and seek employment elsewhere, as council pay has become so low that they can’t pay their bills.”
Unite national officer for local government craftworkers Jason Poulter said: “The employers’ lack of engagement with the unions has, frankly been disdainful. They spent barely 48 hours considering the unions detailed pay claim.
“This dispute will not be resolved until employers engage in proper consultation with unions.”
Notes to editors
For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.
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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.