Local Government Workers: Pay Dispute 2013


Since 2010, pay for local government workers has dropped, in real terms, by up to a staggering 18%. Our members have lost almost a fifth of their earnings.

The final 1% offer for 2013 announced on 24th April is a disgrace, as it is nowhere near enough to keep up with the costs of living and does nothing to make up for what we have lost.

In a recent survey of local government members, UNISON found that 53% were in debt, with 11% owing more than £20,000.

Continuing low and declining pay will only push even more of our members into further debt and poverty – Waiting is not an option.

In the budget, Osborne capped public sector pay at 1%, not just for this year but also for the next 3 years ahead giving a very clear sign that the Government doesn’t give a damn for public sector workers and has absolutely no plans to pay them fairly.

If we do nothing, we can expect only more of the same – We cannot wait and hope for a better offer next year.

It isn’t going to come – In fact, things are likely to get worse if we do nothing.

The only way to get a decent rise will be to organise collectively, and ultimately be prepared to take industrial action, including strike action.

Action works: it worked when our pensions were threatened, it’s worked in the past to deliver better pay and it can work again.

Debunk those myths!

So what are the two big myths about pay rises put around by this shambles of a Government?

The first is that it will cost jobs.

Any union activist who has negotiated a rise for their members always hears those words from their employer.

In this case it just doesn’t stand up – Holding back the pay we deserve is not saving any jobs.

Here in Manchester we have seen thousands of jobs disappear.

The second big myth is that private sector workers aren’t getting pay rises – This isn’t true.

In the private sector, the median pay increase between February 2012 and 2013 was 2.5%.

We need to make the case for action locally, and win support amongst work colleagues at all grades.

Many UNISON members and their families are being hit twice as hard as savage attacks on the welfare state came into force in April; which will affect many working people, as well as those either desperate to find work or unable to as a result of disability or ill health.

  • The benefits up-rating bill will cap benefit increases at 1%
  • Across Britain, 440,000 families will lose out as they receive a lower rate of council tax support than under the old council tax benefit scheme
  • The bedroom tax will cost 660,000 families an average of £14 a week

UNISON members are facing a double attack: on our pay and our welfare state. It’s time to defend ourselves and fight back.

UNISON members have the opportunity through the next 6 weeks to say whether they are prepared to take action.

Three years of an absolute pay freeze resulted in our living standards being reduced by up to 18% (given inflation and above inflation increases for heating, housing and travel).

The Coalition have laid down the gauntlet and declared a further 3 years public sector pay freeze. If unchallenged over 7 years that will see members’ living standards cut by anything from 25-40% depending on future inflation.

Manchester Branch are holding a series of workplace meetings across the City in the next few weeks as part of the national consultation on whether members are prepared to take action to break the pay freeze.

Please check the timetable listed on our separate post here and attend the one which is best for you.

The Branch will arrange further meetings on request where possible and the list will be updated on the Branch website.

If we say as members we are in favour of industrial action and say so in large enough numbers a national UNISON industrial action ballot will be held.

Members are urged to attend their nearest meeting if they can but in any event to return the consultation form that was sent out earlier this week.

It is well overdue to take a stand and say enough is enough.

Please complete the consultation ballot form and get in touch with Branch if you haven’t received it by Friday 3rd May so we can issue you with a new form.

Our Branch don’t believe members are happy to accept 7 years of cumulative pay cuts but we need you to vote so we can demonstrate that.

Remember, a non response may be interpreted as an acceptance of 7 years of pay cuts as not unreasonably a view will be taken that if members are not prepared to return their vote with a pre paid reply envelope they may not be prepared to take action.

So whatever your view please vote so we know whether or not our Branch members are prepared to take action to break the Government’s pay freeze.

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