Care workers, refuse collectors, social workers, teaching assistants, community workers, street cleaners and so many more go above and beyond every single day. Local government staff keep communities safe, clean and accessible, yet there is often little or no recognition for your hard work.
With the cost-of-living skyrocketing to new highs every day, it’s time to rise up and demand pay for the work you do.
That’s why we’re asking members in councils and schools to vote YES in our strike ballot.
UNISON has been campaigning for a decent rise for council and school workers. We called for a pay increase of inflation plus 2% – based on the Treasury’s annual forecast for RPI for 2023, this would amount to 12.7%. However, the local government employers have responded with an offer of a flat rate increase of £1,925 (with less for part-time and term-time workers).
In a cost-of-living crisis this simply is not good enough.
You are currently being balloted to ask if you wish to take industrial action over pay. Ballot papers were posted out from Tuesday 23 May and need to reach us by the deadline of Tuesday 4 July.
We understand that taking action is a big step and may feel overwhelming when you have colleagues and service users who rely on you. It may even feel that it’s something other sectors undertake but not you. But over the past 12 years, council and school staff have lost on average 25% from the value of your pay when measured against the Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation since 2010. Prices and bills are reaching new highs every day and every pound in your pay packet really counts.
Taking action will send a clear message to employers that you need a better pay rise that will actually help during the cost-of-living crisis. You deliver a vital public service that helps everyone in your community – you deserve fair pay for the important work that you do.
What you can do
VOTE YES! That’s the most important thing you can do right now – look out for your red envelope and as soon as you receive your ballot paper, please vote and post it back straight away. If we don’t have at least 50% of members voting, we cannot take action.
If you haven’t received your ballot paper, please contact our dedicated helpline on 0800 0857 857 – it is open between 5 June and midday 28 June.
If you have lost your ballot paper and need a replacement, you can request a new one until midday 28 June.
Once you’ve voted, here are some other ways to help:
- Get your colleagues involved – if your colleagues aren’t members of UNISON already, encourage them to join! If they join by 21 June, they are eligible to vote in the ballot. They can join online and it only takes five minutes:
- You can share our branded graphics and videos via the hashtag #PayUp2023
- You can download and print our campaign materials for workplaces, such as leaflets and posters
- You can sign-up for phone banking and help us to reach as many members as possible in order to maximise the vote turnout
What happens next?
The branch is planning to run virtual pay briefings in the near future to give an opportunity for members to ask any questions they have about the campaign. Details will be shared online here and via email if we have your contact information recorded.