GMB “No” To Council Pay Freeze

23 Feb 2012

GMB responds to the third year pay freeze proposal for council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If the national council leaders refuse to go to ACAS, GMB will consult with members over industrial action and consult with local branches about submitting the union pay claim direct to their local authorities.

Brian Strutton GMB National Secretary for Public Services said “The politicians who lead local councils are a disgrace to the workforces they employ for offering no pay rise for the third consecutive year while feathering their own nests. Council leaders pay has shot up and councillors vote themselves higher allowances while the carers, dinner ladies, dustmen, social workers, school support staff and all the other council workers serving their communities will have seen their pay fall in real terms by over 15%.

The chancellor promised the country in the 2010 budget that low paid public sector workers would be afforded some protection against the cuts so will he reign in the Conservative-controlled council leaders who have made a mockery of that promise? Council workers are the lowest paid in the public sector but are the only ones not to be offered even the minimum £250 the government guaranteed. Make no mistake, this 3-year pay freeze is not an austerity measure, it is a deliberate political choice by local government politicians who want to win votes by keeping their workforces pay at poverty levels to fund council tax freezes.

Although we know that councils are strapped for cash it has come as a shock that they are saying no pay rise for the third year in a row. I don’t know any other workforce in the economy that has had to bear this and 150,000 job losses and cuts to terms and conditions. Council workers and their families are being forced to bear the greatest burden of an economic collapse that, as Mervyn King has said, was not of their making. Council leaders and chiefs who vote themselves ever higher allowances and salaries are a despicable bunch and rank as the very worst employers I’ve ever come across.

GMB believes that a third year national pay freeze is totally unacceptable and should be referred to ACAS arbitration for a fair and independent assessment. If the national council leaders refuse to do this GMB will consult with members over industrial action and consult with local branches about submitting the union pay claim direct to their local authorities.”

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