Local Government Pay Update

24 Jul 2009

23 July 2009



Late yesterday the Local Government Employers put in writing their final offer on pay for 2009.

The terms of the offer are quite straightforward:

1.  For spinal column points 4-10 inclusive, a pay rise of 1.25% backdated to 1 April 2009.

2.  For spinal column points 11-49 inclusive, a pay rise of 1.00% backdated to 1 April 2009.

3.  For employees with less than 5 years service an increase to the minimum leave entitlement of an extra day (going from 20 to 21).  This does not change other leave entitlements.

4.  There is a commitment to producing a joint statement or joint guidance, the employers seem unclear which, about best practice in handling redundancies (and see below).

So after all the local government political nonsense we have at last got an offer to consult on.  It’s better than we started with (0.5%) but it’s not great.  It’s worth noting that this offer is less than other parts of local government (teachers, police, firefighters) and less than most councils had budgeted and less than councils not covered by these negotiations have paid. But there’s a nasty sting in the tail to this offer. If you look at the employers offer letter you will see that it says:

“…..the amount available for pay has been squeezed and in many councils implementation of [this] offer would mean cutting expenditure elsewhere, which in turn may lead to reductions in jobs, possibly through compulsory redundancies.”

“In that context the employers will want to start discussions in the NJC on the development of a reward package for the local government workforce that reflects the challenges that lie ahead in delivering improved services in a tightening financial environment.”

So what’s all this about?  The new pay offer, worth a little over 1% in total, carries with it the threat of possible compulsory redundancies?  And discussions on weakening the reward package?  Well, the second part is easy; we won’t be interested in discussing any worsening of terms and conditions.

But what of the threat of redundancies, compulsory ones, because of this pay offer?  I can’t really believe that any council out there is so badly run that it can’t afford to pay its employees around 1%.  But it would be wrong to treat this threat flippantly.  We know that some councils had said they wanted to pay no increase at all.  I don’t want any of them turning round and saying “we are sacking some of you to fund this pay rise”.

If there are any councils who really are in this position we need to know - our members in those councils need to know - and those councils who envisage that they might make redundancies need to begin consultations with the unions.  I think we need to approach all local authorities to ask them the question - will they pay this offer without consequential compulsory redundancies?

Later in August GMB expects to begin consultation on the new pay offer.  It is vitally important that everyone is aware of the offer and has their chance to vote through GMB membership.  It could be more crucial than ever.

Brian Strutton
National Secretary - Public Services Section

For further details of the offer please contact your local workplace organiser, local authority convenor or full time Organiser.