GMB, UNISON and Unite give their reactions to offer from LGA

Tim Lezard

LGAUnions representing local government workers are to ballot members over a pay offer of 1%.

The offer, made by the Local Government Association, received differing responses from the GMB, UNISON and Unite.

GMB national secretary for public services Brian Strutton said: “We will consider this pay offer and then we will consult with our members to ask whether they wish to accept it or not.

“My initial reaction is that there is likely to be relief that we have broken the three-year pay freeze, but disappointment that there is only 1% on the table. We’ll see if that’s enough to satisfy our members.”

UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “Local government workers have seen a 16% decline in the value of their pay in the last three years, coupled with significant local attacks on terms and conditions.

“UNISON’s local government committee will be mindful of this when we consider this improved offer. We held out for a better deal and will now be consulting our local government members, the majority of whom are women who have been particularly hard hit by the coalition’s cuts to jobs, services, pay and conditions.”

Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: “In the last three years there has been a pay freeze, with the result that earnings for the average employee have slumped by 16%.

“Yet, when you contrast this with the excessive pay of such council bosses as Hammersmith and Fulham’s chief executive Derek Myers on £225,000 a year, there is a strong whiff of hypocrisy. Don’t do as I do – do as I say. The gravy train for some bosses is steaming ahead.”

Unite will be meeting with other unions on May 7th to discuss the offer. Its members will be asked, in a consultative ballot, for their view.

Fiona Farmer said: “The offer is paltry given that local council employees provide vital services in their local community on a daily basis.

“We will be considering the offer in the context of the savage cuts in local government which have seen 200,000 job losses since the coalition’s austerity programme started to bite.”

* In a separate development, unions representing university workers (EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite), rejected a pay rise of 0.5%.

The unions said the offer, coupled with a refusal to pay the living wage for the lowest-paid staff. looked insulting next to the recent pay increases that university bosses have enjoyed while staff have received there years of real-term pay cuts.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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