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NJC 2021 pay campaign. #VoteYes! #EnoughisEnough

Strike ballot – key facts and dates

The local government employers have made a final offer of 1.75% from 1 April 2021 (2.75% for those on pay point 1).

UNISON members have voted overwhelmingly to reject this offer, and we are balloting members asking them to vote ‘yes’ to strike action to help secure a better pay increase.
The NJC Committee, UNISON’s senior committee of members covering local government pay, has decided that we will ask one straightforward question: whether members wish to take strike action (so we won’t be asking about ‘action short of a strike but that may still happen as well).
We are balloting around 375,000 members in over 40,000 workplaces.
Ballot papers will go out to members from 1 December. It’s a postal ballot using members’ home addresses. Ballot papers will include a letter explaining the dispute and encouraging members to vote ‘yes’ for strike action.
The ballot closes on 14 January. That’s the date by which ballot papers need to be received – so they need to be posted before then!

The ballot helpline 0800 0 857857 will be open between 9 December 2021 and 10 January 2022.
New members who join by 3 January 2022 will be able to take part in the ballot.

Our message to members is that if we get a ‘yes’ vote on a sufficient turnout, the plan would be to take an initial day’s strike action; but that it might be necessary to take further, escalating action.

Pay talks with the employers
While preparing for the strike ballot, the joint trade unions also wrote to the NJC Employers’ side urging them to re-open pay negotiations and make an improved offer. We also urged them to re-consider their refusal to work jointly with the unions to lobby the Westminster Government for more funding to give local government workers a decent pay rise.
The Employers agreed to meet the unions on 10 November. They have said that they will not be increasing the pay offer, but we used the meeting to reiterate our members’ plight – having put their own health at risk throughout the pandemic, they are now faced with a pay increase which is in reality a real terms pay cut, due to rising inflation. We will continue to press the employers to improve their offer.

Campaign leaflets and posters
A new campaign leaflet and poster are now available, encouraging members to vote yes for strike action. Hard copies will be available via the branch, and you can download electronic versions now.
 Leaflet: https://shop.unison.site/product/njc-council-and-school-pay-leaflet/
 Poster: https://shop.unison.site/product/njc-council-and-school-pay-poster/
Separate schools versions of the leaflet and poster will be available in the coming days.

Campaign web page: www.unison.org.uk/LGfairpay – watch this space for new campaign materials and resources

11 thing you need to know about council and school pay
We have published a new blog post on the UNISON website, with 11 key things people need to know. It gives the background to the pay dispute, key information about rising costs, and explains why we want members to vote – and to vote yes for strike action.

Campaign videos
We have produced two short campaign videos focusing on the vital work local government workers do, and linking this to the need for a decent pay increase.
Council and school workers deserve fair pay – with ‘vote yes’ message: Please watch and share them
Enough is enough, vote yes for a proper pay rise:

We’ll keep you updated throughout and the central webpage will be regularly updated www.unison.org.uk/LGpay

Contacting members
We are putting together a programme of member communications – this will include a phone banking system, (so you may get a call from us to remind you to vote) as well as leaflets and emails etc.

Remember – the value of local government workers’ pay has declined by 25% since 2010. So in effect, our members are giving their employers a ‘Free Friday’ of work every week.

Get local politicians to support us
Some branches have told us that some local councillors – including council leaders – have expressed their support and have asked what they can do to help our campaign.
A key issue is political pressure. Ultimately, we need councillors to put the maximum amount of pressure on the people they have elected to the Employers’ Side, to get them to change their minds and improve their offer. Councillors need to tell the Employers’ Side that they want to make a better offer, and that their councils have budgeted for a bigger pay increase than 1.75%.
In addition, council leaders can support us by making clear to members that they support our campaign – or at least sympathise. This will be crucial in persuading members who may be unsure to vote ‘yes’ to strike action. So please have those discussions with local leaders!

The forgotten frontline – article focusing on individual stories:
NEW downloadable ‘Fair pay for council and school workers’ graphics:

Twitter feed: @UNISONinLG
Link for members to update their details: https://www.unison.org.uk/update-yourdetails