*UPDATE* UNISON Press Release on Strike Action

Following the national announcement on 24 April, UNISON Manchester Branch Secretary, Pat McDonagh, said:

“The results of the consultative ballot carried out by the Branch showed that 78% (733) of our members voted to reject the offer and 22% (209) voted to accept it.”

“This clearly demonstrates the strength of feeling amongst the membership that enough is enough.”

“Our focus must now shift to delivering a successful official industrial action ballot that will send a powerful message to the ConDem government.”

The rest of the national press release now follows:

600,000 local government members to be balloted for strike action over pay

UNISON today decided to ballot 600,000 local government and school members in England for strike action after 70% of members rejected this year’s pay offer in a consultative ballot.

The pay offer would mean around 50,000 of the lowest paid local government workers receive a rise that is slightly above inflation. However the remainder of the workforce – around 90% – would receive just 1%.

Local government workers covered by the offer include teaching assistants, planners, administrators, social workers and engineers.

Local government workers have already endured three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by below-inflation rises in 2013 and 2014, leaving their pay reduced by almost 20% since the Coalition came to power.

UNISON’s Head of Local Government, Heather Wakefield, said:

“Our members have made it clear that this pay offer is the straw that breaks the camel’s back after years of pay freezes and below-inflation rises.

“This offer is effectively another pay freeze for the majority of our local government and school members, and they have used this consultation to send a strong message that it is insulting and unacceptable.

“Local government workers have kept services running in our communities in the face of the Government’s harsh austerity agenda, and they deserve more than just a bare minimum pay increase.”

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