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For Council and School Workers    

Build the Pressure – What We need to do now!

Initial 2% pay offer rejected

 As you know, earlier this month UNISON and the other local government unions rejected an initial offer of a 2% pay rise from the employers’ (represented by the Local Government Association).

Our claim was for a new minimum rate of £10 an hour, and 10% for everybody else. We also asked for improvements in annual leave and working hours, and joint work on mental health.

The employers made an initial pay offer of a one-year deal of 2% across all pay points from 1st April.

During negotiations, UNISON’s representatives expressed huge disappointment with the opening offer. We argued that pay settlements elsewhere have been higher and that this pay offer would leave local government further behind other parts of the public sector. It even fell short of rises needed to meet the Government’s long-term plans for the national living wage.

Since 2010, local government workers’ pay has fallen significantly in real terms, and as a result many of our members are struggling to get by.

UNISON called on the employers to think again and make a better offer.

They agreed to reconvene their full negotiating body to consider the points we made before meeting with us again for further negotiations and we urged the employers to carry out this process as quickly as possible.

Regional pay briefings

Following our meeting the employers decided to launch a new round of regional pay briefings, to get local authorities’ views on local government pay and how they should respond to our rejection of the 2% offer.

We have expressed our concerns over this additional delay – although it does show they are taking the negotiations seriously. We hope they will use these regional meetings to get support for a significantly improved pay offer. In the meantime, we need to put maximum pressure on councillors, to get their support for our pay campaign and get their councils to support a better pay offer.

We attach a link to our ‘email your councillor’ online tool, to report on the initial offer and make clear that councils need to put pressure on the government to fund an improved pay offer. https://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/fair-pay-now-council-school-workers/ Please add your voice and help keep the pressure up.

Write to the Chancellor

UNISON head of local government Jon Richards said:

“Council staff run vital local services at the heart of communities across the three nations. They’ve done this through thick and thin, as cuts and redundancies have made their jobs ever more challenging. This offer is more than disappointing.

“It’s high time teaching assistants, care workers, librarians and park keepers were rewarded for their sterling efforts during the difficult decade of austerity.

“The chancellor must give councils the cash in the Budget to fund a proper pay rise. Otherwise experienced staff will be lost as they seek better paid work elsewhere and there’ll be barely anyone left to deliver local services.”

Download this model letter to send to the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, highlighting our pay campaign and demanding that he funds local authorities to allow them to meet our pay claim. https://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/fair-pay-now-council-school-workers/

We Pay for Ourselves

UNISON recently published research showing that if the government funded our pay claim in full, they would recoup more than half of the money, through local government workers paying more tax, needing less in benefits and tax credits, and spending more in the local economy. You can read the research here: https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2020/02/PublicFinances-Local-Gov-Pay-Claim-202021.pdf

Come to Plymouth City Council’s final budget meeting. Make sure Councillors are aware of the above and clear about the strength of feeling about local government pay. They need to make sure they budget for a decent pay increase for staff.

Pay loss calculator

UNISON publish our online calculator, with which members can see exactly how much money they have lost in real terms due to 10 years of pay freezes and below inflation pay rises. https://unison.typeform.com/to/pEVaSi

Branch Meetings

The next meeting for all members will be the AGM which will take place from 5pm on the 17th March at the Aquarium. There will also be a pre meet at Windsor House at 12.30 pm on 11th March. After that if you want to have a meeting on Pay in your workplace contact your local Rep. and or Lead Rep. Kevin Treweeks

Your voice in UNISON

Our Pay Up Now campaign web page contains a link for members to update their details –


Make sure you have a voice in any ballot for action by making sure we know where you work so you can be balloted if necessary and encourage your colleagues to https://join.unison.org.uk/  so they can have the same