The three main unions organising local government workers are balloting their members on industrial action over the employer’s offer of a 1% pay rise. On the bottom grades the offer is slightly higher to avoid being below the minimum wage.
UNISON, UNITE and GMB have already held consultative ballots on the issue, resulting in substantial majorities to reject the paltry offer and fight for pay. The ballot turnout for GMB members was an unprecedented 83%. Since 2010 pay in Local Government has lost 18% of its value against inflation, with years of pay freezes or 1% increases.
The employer’s argument that pay cuts are necessary to save jobs has no credibility given that 400,000 have been lost since 2010. On the contrary, there is a realisation that the lack of fight on pay has encouraged employers and the government to cut jobs, conditions, pay and services.
So on July the 10th council workers will be on strike and are likely to be joined by teachers, fire fighters and maybe civil servants. Two further days of strike action have been set for September. July 10th could be the start of a much needed fight for pay and jobs!