Local government pay dispute likely to push into 2009

A council representative has quashed trade union hopes of an end to the local government pay dispute this side of Christmas.

Although unions and employers last month agreed an interim 2.45% increase for council staff backdated to April, unions are seeking a further award. The dispute has gone to conciliation service Acas, and the two sides were last week negotiating terms of reference for the arbitration process.

Trade union Unison said it wanted an agreement to be reached before Christmas. But Jim Savege, who advises the Local Government Employers negotiation board, told Personnel Today: “I’m really pleased we got the pay award before the end of the year, but the arbitration will not be sorted before Christmas.”

He said that if employees were awarded higher wages, councils would struggle to make these payments without cutting jobs. However, unions have said that a pay reward lower than inflation represents a pay cut, and requested a 6% pay rise.

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