How the Decision Was Made to Suspend the Strike

Consulting unison members over the NJC pay proposals and suspending 14 October strike action: how the decision was made

How the 14 October action over NJC pay was suspended? What were the negotiations that led to the revised proposals put forward by the Local Government Association (LGA)?

We hope this bulletin will help you and your members to understand the sequence of events and participate fully in the consultation.

LGA pulled back into negotiations

As you know, the LGA had refused to negotiate further with us over their initial March offer of 1% with some bottom- Moneyloading. They also refused to engage with arbitration via ACAS, as provided for in the collective agreement – the ‘Green Book’. This refusal continued until 13 August, when they agreed to meet with us and discuss other issues than the pay offer at a meeting chaired by ACAS. This was not arbitration, which the LGA would still not agree to. As a result of this meeting, we were able to move on to discussions about the March pay offer, which we had rejected.

Very tough discussions took place during September. These resulted in the LGA coming forward with the initial proposals which were circulated to branches in NJC Pay Bulletin 48. UNISON made it clear that these were not acceptable at a meeting with the employers on 2 October and the LGA then came back with the revised proposals which were circulated to you on 10 October. These include an additional lump sum for those on scale point 26 and above to be paid on 1 April 2015. This is to ensure that no-one would receive less than the equivalent of 1% in cash value in 2014 – when the 2.2% increase in January 2015 and the non-consolidated lump sum are combined.

UNISON’S NJC Committee takes decisions

UNISON’s NJC Committee met on 25 September and considered the initial proposals for the first time. The Committee decided to reject them and continue with the strike action planned for 14 October. The Committee also asked the negotiators to return to the LGA and say that the proposals were not acceptable and seek further negotiations. There was also concern that the proposals didn’t amount to a final offer and could not be guaranteed until the LGA had consulted councils. This is because the LGA has its own consultation procedures and had only consulted councils on the initial March offer.

A further date for an NJC Committee meeting was set for 9 October to consider any developments. The negotiators did as requested by the NJC Committee and revised proposals were secured. Following the September meeting, many of the Regional representatives on the NJC Committee went back to their Regions and asked for Regional Local Government Committee meetings to be called so that they could get a view from branches in their Regions about the proposals.

Meanwhile GMB and Unite both took decisions to suspend the strike action on 14 October and consult members over the initial proposals, which they circulated to their members. Although we had not suspended the strike action UNISON was then placed in a position where we had to circulate the proposals too, as we did not want members to find out about them from other unions. This led to a call by a significant number of our branches and members for UNISON to consult our members too.

NJC Committee meeting on 9 October

At the NJC Committee meeting held on 9 October, there was a lengthy discussion about the revised proposals. There was a general view that they still fall short of our claim and our aspirations. Regional reps also reported back on views within their Regions on the mood for strike action. Two Regions argued strongly for continuation of the action, with another Region split on the issue.

Most Regional reps also reported that many members felt that they should be consulted over the proposals.

The NJC Committee’s decisions on 9 October

Following the discussion, the NJC Committee took three votes. The first vote was on whether to suspend the strike action planned for 14 October. The Committee voted by 20 votes to 9 in favour of suspending the action.

The second vote was on whether to consult members over the revised proposals as they stand. The Committee voted by 24 votes to 5 to consult members over the proposals.

Finally, the Committee considered what its recommendation to members should be in the consultation. There was a unanimous view that the proposals could not be recommended and that we should consult our members on the following basis:

“The UNISON NJC Committee’s view is that the employers’ pay proposals for 2014/16 fall far below the aspirations in our 2014/15 pay claim and what members deserve. However, the Committee believes it is the best achievable by negotiation and that only sustained all out strike action could achieve an improved pay offer.”

The vote to consult members on this basis was 19 -10.

of all NJC workers.


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Details of the Employers’ Pay Offer

The local government strike on 14th October has been suspended, pending consultation on a two-year pay offer from the employers.Pay

The proposals are:

£1,065 (8.56%) on SCP5 with effect from 1 January 2015 £1,000 (7.93%) on SCP6 with effect from 1 January 2015 £800 (6.19%) on SCP7 with effect from 1 January 2015 £550 (4.13%) on SCP8 with effect from 1 January 2015 £350 (2.55%) on SCP9 with effect from 1 January 2015 £325 (2.32%) on SCP10 with effect from 1 January 2015

2.20% on SCPs 11 and above with effect from 1 January 2015

Removal of SCP5 with effect from 1 October 2015

£325 non-consolidated payment on SCPs 5, 6 & 7 to be paid in December 2014

£150 non-consolidated payment on SCPs 8, 9 & 10 to be paid in December 2014

£100 non-consolidated payment on SCPs 11-25 incl to be paid in December 2014

0.45% of proposed new salaries on SCPs 26-49 incl, of which £100 to be paid in December 2014 and the remaining balance to be paid in April 2015

For most staff, this will mean a 2.2% pay rise from January 2015 to Apr 2016 [as Scale Point 11 is £18,210 in London].


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Pay Claim Strike Suspended

The three unions which represent over 1.5 million workers in local government and schools – UNISON, GMB and UNITE – have today decided to suspend strike action planned for 14 October and consult their members on new proposals put forward by the Local Government Association as the best achievable by negotiation.

The proposals cover the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016.

In doing so, all three unions have made it clear that they want to strengthen the collective bargaining machinery covering local government and schools and move quickly to jointly tackle important issues facing their members with the Local Government Association. Members covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government have the lowest pay in the public sector and have suffered significant attacks on their conditions of work in recent years.

The unions will now move forward together to consult their members.


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Planned Local Government Strike on 14 October now Suspended

UNISON members in schools and councils took strike action on 10 July to seek an improvement on the local government employers’ 1% pay offer.

The strength of our strike action and our lobbying of councillors and MPs has resulted in the employers now putting forward new pay proposals to settle the dispute.

The proposals have the agreement of all political groups on the Local Government Association (LGA) and now need the approval of councils for them to become a formal offer from the employers.

UNISON, GMB and Unite have agreed to suspend the 14 October industrial action and consult members over the proposals whilst the LGA consults councils. This means you must not take strike action next Tuesday.

We will be in touch with you about the proposals and UNISON consultation arrangements on them in the near future.

We are still in dispute over pay and no agreement has been reached. Members covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government have the lowest pay in the public sector and have suffered significant attacks on their conditions of work in recent years.

The TUC have organised a day of action on Saturday 18th October. A demonstration entitled ‘Britain Needs a Payrise’ will be taking place in Central London on the 18th. We do hope that you will join us so we can send a clear message to the government. We will be meeting outside St Mary le Strand (On the Strand) from 10:30.


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Local Governement and School Support Workers Set to Strike Again Over Pay

Carers, social workers, refuse collectors, street cleaners and teaching assistants will be among thousands of local council and school support workers in London set to strike on 14 October as part of nationwide action over pay.

The strike follows on from a full-scale walkout on 10 July, which forced the closure of schools and left councilsPay Strike Round operating skeleton services.

Picket lines will be placed on all major council buildings from 7am throughout the day.

The Con-Dem Government has had local government pay and conditions squarely in its sights since 2010. A pay freeze in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and below inflation rises in eight of the last seventeen years has sent the pay packets of local government and school workers plummeting back to the level of the 1990s.

Many council workers in London have been left struggling to get by, with some relying on foodbanks, second jobs and in-work benefits to make ends meet.  This year’s offer would result in a cumulative real-term cut of almost 20% for more than one million local government and school workers since 2010.

UNISON is urging the employers to get back to the negotiating table with an offer that recognises the invaluable contribution members make to their local communities.

Linda Perks, Regional Secretary said:

“Council workers have kept on going in the face of four years of draconian Government cuts to keep local services in London running. They care for our elderly and our vulnerable, keep our streets clean and educate and look after our children. They deserve better treatment than they have had at the hands of this Government.

“Taking strike action is never easy but our members are sending a clear message to the Government that they have had enough.  Low paid women make up the backbone of most local councils and they deserve to be paid a decent wage.

“The employers must get back into talks immediately to avoid a damaging dispute.”



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Branch Meeting on Pay – 30 September

Today’s lunch time branch meeting in the Council Chamber at Kensington Town hall was well attended, lively and concertrated on the issue of the 2014/15 pay claim.

A document detailing and analysing the employer’s latest proposal was circulated and you can downland and read it here. This report was written by Jon Rogers (member of the National Executive Council (NEC) of UNISON with additonal matrial by Sean Fox (Haringey Branch Secretary).

Steve Terry, UNISON Regional Organiser spoke on pay, the economic background and forthcoming dispute:Steve Terry

Steve thanked all the Branch officers for the hard work in organising the last strike on 10 July. This sent a clear signal to the employer that we were not willing to put up with poor conditions and low pay.

Since 2010 local government workers has suffered an 18% drop in the real value of their pay. This has been caused by the coalition government which has starved councils of cash by reducing the grant year on year. After 4 years austerity there is a modest sign of recovery being reported – but there was a modest recover occurring in 2010. This is more because of the resilience of the UK economy rather than an endorsement of their savage cuts and so-called austerity.

The TUC is asking all the members of the unions affiliated to it to march on 18 October to highlight that Britain needs a pay rise.

Our industrial action on July 10 did have an effect. It brought the employer back to the table. They have since made a new pay proposal. UNISON has decided that the new proposal does not meet the joint-unions pay claim of £1 per hour on all scales to implement the living wage and try and gain back some of the 18% drop in pay public sector workers have suffered.

Therefore the strike on 14 October is still on. UNITE and the GMB are still part of the action.

The issue is do we accept the employers low offer which entrenches the already suffered 18% pay cut? Or do we make a stand against what is a cost of living crisis we are all suffering?

Being a union member is not a lifestyle choice like shopping at Tesco or Salisbury – it is a living breathing thing which is reliant for its existence on the activity of its members. Members need to challenge colleagues if they are not going to strike and explain that for every member who does not join in it weakens us collectively.

The employer has made a revised proposal. There was no reason for them to make a new proposal except because of the strike action taken in July and the threatened action to come in October. This offer is basically the same offer as the 1% but re-packaged and so does not meet UNISON’s objectives.

Austerity has not worked. Reducing the pay of a large section of the working population has not helped the economy. When people have money in their pockets they spend it. When they spend it the economy improves which has a knock on effect for more jobs, more production and more income for the government from taxation.

All members are asked to take part in the strike on 10 October to make the employers understand that we will no longer settle for falling wages.”


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New Strike Date

UNISON’s National Joint Council (NJC) Committee met recently to re-consider its earlier decision to follow the strike in July with further action on 30 September.

The Committee agreed that maintaining unity between the three local government unions (GMB, Unite and UNISON)UNISON banner jpg as well as other sectors within UNISON and other public sector unions is crucial to achieving an improved pay offer for our members.

The NJC Committee therefore agreed not to proceed with the strike action on 30 September and to seek approval from the Industrial Action Committee for all-out strike action on 14 October. This has the agreement of the GMB and Unite and will coincide with the week of action planned by the NHS unions over pay.

So please put the 14th October put it in your diary, talk to colleagues about it and encourage non-members to join!

We will be organising further meetings and sending you more information in September and October.


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