Unions may not meet local government pay deadline

Unions have warned they may not meet the deadline imposed by employers to negotiate this year’s 0.5% pay deal for local government staff.

Last week, the Local Government Association claimed the 0.5% pay offer for council staff would be withdrawn by 1 June in favour of a pay freeze if unions could not agree to a negotiated settlement.

But after a meeting between the unions, employers were told that it may not be possible to meet the strict deadline.

Unison head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “We haven’t said that we definitely won’t be able to meet it. We may not, but it depends how we get on with the negotiations – it’s really down to the employers. The deadline makes it very difficult for us to consult our members properly.”

Wakefield said that the unions had told employers that the deadline was “unreasonable”, particularly given the four bank holidays between 6 April, when the offer was made, and the 1 June deadline.

Unite national officer Peter Allenson said: “All three unions have extensive membership and to consult them properly about any outcome of negotiations would take us, we believe, beyond the date which the employers are indicating.”

Unions have also expressed outrage at the offer on the table, explaining it is not proportionate to what other public sector workers such as NHS staff or police can expect to get this year.

“Who could honestly expect us to consider this [offer] acceptable? It is just not realistic and we know that the employers have already put aside money for an increase of between 1.5% and 2.5%,” Wakefield said.

Unions have refused to rule out industrial action if they do not come to an agreement.

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