Local Government Pay Update - Unions & Employers Fail To Agree On New Proposals

26 Sep 2014

Earlier this year the local government employers made their pay offer for 2014 which was worth 1%.  This was rejected by all union members in ballots and subsequently those same members voted to take strike action on 10 July.  Since then GMB and the other trade unions have been involved in talks with the employers to try to secure a new offer that we could put to our members.  Those talks have been very difficult, with councils telling their negotiators that they had no financial room for manoeuvre.  Some of those discussions have had ACAS in attendance to try to help move the discussions forward. The unions and the employers eventually arrived at a new set of proposals as follows -

*  A two year proposal covering from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016
*  Involving a combination of percentage increases and cash lump sums
*  Payable in December 2014 and January 2015 for the whole two year period (not
  backdated)
  The amounts being:
£325 non consolidated payment on SCPs 5,6 and 7 in December 2014 (pro rata part time)
£150 non consolidated payment on SCPs 8,9 and 10 in December 2014 (pro rata part time)
£100 non consolidated payment on SCPs 11-49 in December 2014 (pro rata part time)
£1,065 (8.56%) consolidated increase on SCP 5 in January 2015
£1,000 (7.93%) consolidated increase on SCP 6 in January 2015
£800 (6.19%) consolidated increase on SCP 7 in January 2015
£550 (4.13%) consolidated increase on SCP 8 in January 2015
£350 (2.55%) consolidated increase on SCP 9 in January 2015
£325 (2.32%) consolidated increase on SCP 10 in January 2015

*  2.20% consolidated increase on SCPs 11 and above from January 2015
*  Removal of SCP 5 in October 2015

This is a very complicated set of proposals that would affect GMB members differently. Some might see this as an attractive proposal, others might not.  There are good points and bad points.  It would need very careful consideration.  What is very clear is that this amounts to a completely new proposal compared to the 1% offer that was originally rejected by our members.  Therefore GMB’s view is that our members should be able to decide whether these new proposals would be acceptable or not.  We had previously prepared a further day of strike action on 14 October and we would obviously want to suspend that strike while our members have the opportunity to vote by secret postal ballot to decide to accept or reject.  GMB is absolutely committed to members having the final say.

However I’m afraid that we are not in a position to consult with our members.  The reason is that the employers have been prepared to negotiate this far on the understanding that all three local government trade unions - GMB, Unison and Unite - would all consult members.  Unfortunately one of the unions could not agree to do this and therefore the employers have withdrawn from the proposal.  This is disappointing for GMB because we are strongly supportive of trade union solidarity but we find that extremely uncomfortable when it is at the expense of what we believe is our members’ right to have a say on their future pay.

At the moment I do not know whether it will be possible to piece negotiations back together and I have called a national meeting of our senior representatives next week to discuss the situation, including the planned strike on 14 October.  In the meantime I thought you would want to know exactly what has transpired and, as ever, I will keep you informed if there is further progress.

Brian Strutton

Brian Strutton
National Secretary - Public Services