Category Archives: Pay and Conditions

UNISON Lodge 2018/19 Pay Claim

UNISON Lodge 2018/19 Pay Claim

Unison calls for a 5% pay rise for all – and the foundation living wage for the lowest paid.

UNISON, GMB and Unite today lodged the following pay claim for all council and schoolBaloon workers employed on NJC pay in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

The deletion of NJC pay points SCP 6-9 to reach the Foundation Living Wage of £8.45 (UK) and £9.75 (London) and a 5% increase on all NJC pay points

The claim is attached and has been submitted to the Local Government Association.

Below are the key arguments made in the claim:

  1. Declining value of NJC pay:
  • For the vast majority of NJC workers in local government and schools – last year’s pay ‘rise’ actually represented the EIGHTH consecutive annual pay cut since 2009.
  • Pay in local government and schools is one of the lowest in the public sector. No-one is paid a fair rate for the job they do.
  • A continuation of the 1 per cent pay cap would represent a further squeeze on our members’ quality of life that is even worse than during the 1980s and 1990s, exacerbating an already desperate situation for many.
  • The bottom rate of pay in local government – £7.78 – is only 28p above the National Living Wage (NLW) and well below the UK Foundation Living Wage rate of £8.45 and £9.75 in London.
  • Inflation is predicted to remain in excess of 3% for the next five years. This means that the cost of living for our members will rise by nearly 18% by 2021. In that context, a 1% pay offer for the sector would be unacceptable.
  • If pay is capped at 1% from 2018 – 2019, the average local government wage will fall in value by nearly £1,200. This would be on top of a real terms loss in pay of some 21% since 2009.
  • NJC workers on the bottom pay point will require a 15.7% increase in pay to reach the currently projected rate for the National Living Wage of £9 per hour by 2020.
  • Women are more than three quarters of the NJC workforce. The gender pay gap has widened in the public sector since the pay cap was introduced, even though it has narrowed in the wider economy. Endemic low pay is a gender issue and represents the undervaluing of women’s skills, knowledge and experience in schools and council services.2. Pay-related conditions of work: Most councils are slashing conditions of work such as unsocial hours payments – alongside the decline in basic pay. This means workers providing services that require them to work regular overtime, shift work and unsocial hours work, are suffering further reductions in pay as additional payments are cut.

    3. Job losses: Since June 2010, local government has lost over 750,000 jobs. Those workers left behind face increased workloads, pressure and stress – on top of shrinking pay packets. As a result, local services, and those reliant upon them, suffer. Many employees who have been made redundant have been replaced by agency staff – a false economy for councils in both the short and long term. Agency workers are expensive and public money is wasted in often high agency fees.

    4. Recruitment and retention: With pay comparing so badly with the rest of the public and private sectors, 71% of councils unsurprisingly report recruitment and retention problems.

    5. Equal pay: The National Living Wage has been introduced by the Government without any extra funding for councils and schools to pay for it. Indeed council budgets have been slashed by at least 40% since 2010. With NJC pay kept low by pay freezes or below-inflation increases, the National Living Wage has become the determinant of the bottom pay rate. This means that fair and transparent pay grades, based on job evaluation, are being squashed together at the bottom of the pay structure. With supervisors being paid similar rates to those they supervise, this leaves councils at risk of another round of costly equal pay claims. Applying the legal minimum pay rise to the bottom of the pay scale, and cutting pay for everyone else is unsustainable and not an option for the unions.

    Gear Up for the Pay Campaign!

    We will also be seeking meetings with Government and Shadow Ministers to press the case for funding for the NJC claim and the pay spine review. The first stage of our campaign is to build awareness of the NJC pay claim at local level with members.

    The Local Government Association have told us they will now start their consultation exercise on the pay claim and respond to us in late September.

    A document with full details of the claim can be found here.



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The 2017 K&C Branch AGM

The 2017 Branch AGM was held on Wednesday 15 Feb in the Small Hall at Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall.

Sean Fox, Haringey Branch Secretary & National Joint Council Member for Greater London was the speaker at yesterday’s Branch AGM. Sean sits on the UNISON national committee that negotiates on pay with the local government employer.

NJC scales are local government pay scales, which are extensively used in the voluntary sector. They areagm-pic-one a result of negotiations between trade unions. Due to government restricted pay increases spinal points have begun to bunch up. Negotiations on a revised pay spine will begin in March, after the pay data to be used to model alternatives has been finalised and jointly agreed with the LGA.

Last year’s nominal 1% increase was actually wiped out by the 1 1/2 % increase made by the government to our members National Insurance contributions.

In 2010 and 2011 there was a national pay freeze in local government and no pay increase was given. Since then there has been an annual 1% pay increase and we are currently in the second year of a two-year 1% pay deal. The government (under Chancellor Osbourne) restricted local government pay increase to 1% until 2020. This would mean that earnings for our members in local government would be worth 1/3 less than in 2010.

Additionally this pay suppression is further impacted by higher inflation.

The UNION and its members will have to take action if they are to achieve a decent offer. If this fails to happen we run the risk of becoming accustomed to annual 1% increases and continual pay deterioration.  



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Pay Update

moneyNational Joint Council (NJC) Pay Spine Review

As part of the 2016-18 pay deal, the NJC agreed to review the NJC pay spine and established a working group to conduct the review. UNISON’s NJC Executive members and an NJC Committee low paid member represent UNISON on the working group.

At its first meeting on 11 January, the working group agreed (on a without prejudice basis) to proceed according to the three principles below:

  • That a revised pay spine should look similar to the existing one: i.e. individual pay points linked to a specific salary figure
  • That the differentials between each of the pay points should be consistent
  • That a revised pay spine should be extended beyond the existing maximum pay point 49

We anticipate negotiations on a revised pay spine will begin in March, after the pay data to be used to model alternatives has been finalised and jointly agreed with the LGA.

NJC Pay Claim 2018/19

The NJC Committee has agreed to make our pay aspirations clear to the LGA while the negotiations on the pay spine take place. The intention is to lodge the 2018 pay claim by June this year, subject to agreement with GMB and Unite.

Our proposed timetable for agreeing, discussing and lodging the claim is:

27 April: NJC Committee discuss and agrees draft claim for consultation with branches and members

2 May: Start of consultation over the claim

26 May: End of consultation

31 May: NJC Committee meets and agrees UNISON’s proposals for the claim

June TU Side meets soon after and agrees the claim for submission

The NJC Committee has also considered our campaign for more funding for both the pay spine review and future pay increases above 1%. The Committee believes the current situation calls for:

 A union-wide campaign calling for an end to public sector pay restraint

 An NJC campaign, based on a claim for 2018 -19, which demonstrates our pay aspirations to the LGA and highlights low pay in local government and schools to the public

 A widespread political campaign to get recognition of the need and support for additional funding for the pay spine review and NJC pay in the longer term

We have already taken some steps to raise the issue within the LGA Labour Group, amongst MPs and with the DCLG Select Committee. We will also need significant political pressure from Regions and branches. Campaign details will follow.



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Exit Payments in the Public Sector

As part of its attack on public sector workers, the government has introduced a setpublic-secotr of changes to exit payments (including redundancy payments) in the public sector – each set of proposals goes further than the last. All fly in the face of local, and even national, collective agreements, some agreed at the highest levels of government. Some of the proposals will mean re-opening regulations on pension entitlements, breaching the commitment not to alter public sector pensions for 25 years.

UNISON have produced a document which outlines the proposed changes and what they mean for members’ terms and conditions of service. You can view the document here.


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UNISON Additional 2017/18 Pay Claim Update

A meeting of local government representatives from across UNISON (the NJC) met yesterday to consider the results of the UNISON consultation over the additional pay claim for 2017-2018. The consultation arose from Emergency Composite A, carried at 2016 Local Government Conference earlier this year:

“To submit an NJC Pay Claim for 2017/18 and to commence the process of consulting with branches and members on the composition of this claim after the Conference”.

The NJC Committee considered the composite at its meeting in August and decided to consult branches over a claim for a flat rate increase of £1 an hour on all NJC pay points. The UNISON consultation ended on 7 October.

GMB and Unite did not support the submission of an additional claim.

Results of UNISON consultation

50% of branches responded to the consultation, broadly in line with previous consultations over a proposed pay claim. 73% supported the NJC Committee’s proposed claim and 26% rejected it – a much higher proportion than in previous years. In 2016 3% rejected the proposed claim and 1% in 2015.

Local Government Association (LGA) responds

The Committee noted the results of the consultation and agreed to submit the claim immediately to the LGA. The claim was submitted on 13 October.

The LGA’s response received it on 14 October, and can be viewed here. As you will see, the employers have rejected the claim because:

“The Employers are very clearly of the view that the NJC reached, in good faith, an agreement on pay on 16 May 2016 that covers the period to 31 March 2018”

The campaign for a fair deal in 2018 and funding for the pay spine review begins now!

The NJC Committee agreed that all our efforts now need to go into campaigning for a positive outcome from the review of the pay spine and a decent offer in 2018. A further 1% pay offer for the majority in 2018/19 would not be acceptable. The Committee also felt that the review of the NJC pay spine, agreed as part of the 2016-2018 settlement, needs additional funding to ensure an outcome which is fair to all and tackles inequality in pay within the public sector. NJC pay is the lowest in the public sector, from the bottom to the top of the pay spine.

It was therefore agreed to start a campaign of political lobbying, which will call on branches and Regions to lobby councillors and MP’s for a fairer deal for school and council workers and for funding of the review of the pay spine. The union will also work to establish groups of parliamentary advocates within the English, Welsh and Northern Ireland parliaments to speak out for council and school workers and commission research to support a better deal for NJC workers in future.


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Local Government Pension Scheme Please Sign Our Parliamentary Petition

The government wants to use the money in your pension funds to invest in their pet infrastructure projects. This potentially puts at risk the money that should be used to pay your pensions. There has been no debate in Parliament over this issue and we need to try and make sure it gets debated.

We have established a Parliamentary petition which requires 100,000 signatures to get a debate in the House of Commons.

You can sign it by clicking here  the text below describes the petition.

Now pass it on to a colleague – they don’t have to be a UNISON member to sign!

Debate in the House the Local Government Pension Scheme Investment Regulations

5 million people rely on the LGPS to pay their pensions. Government wants powers over LGPS investment funds, but they could gamble away members’ money on infrastructure projects. This is not allowed in any other UK scheme, including the MPs’. The LGPS must be invested in members’ best interests.

Parliament must debate this issue and make the government accountable for these powers of intervention as any such direction may breach the law. Specifically Article 18 paragraph 3 of the EU Directive 41/2003 Institutions for Occupational Retire Provision: “Member States shall not require institutions located in their territory to invest in particular categories of assets.”


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Pay Update – UNISON Reject Offer

The National Joint Council [NJC] Committee is recommending rejection of the offer

UNISON and Unite are both rejecting the offer and balloting for industrial action. GMB is not making aPay recommendation to its members.

Why should members reject the pay offer?

The NJC Committee is recommending that members reject the offer because:

– 60% of NJC employees on scale point 18 and above will receive just 1% on I April in 2016 and 2017

– The offer is for two years. RPI inflation currently stands at 1% but is predicted to rise to as much as 3% in 2017 and 3.3% in 2018. This means that the value of your pay will decline even further

– The higher increases on scale points 6 – 17 have been made to ensure that the lowest paid NJC employees reach the level of the statutory National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour on 1 April 2016

– These higher increases are to ensure that employers comply with the National Living Wage law. Members would have to be paid them – whether or not they were included in the offer – although some of the increase necessary in future years has been brought forward

– The higher rises on the lower pay scales are also to ensure that employers ‘keep ahead’ of further rises needed to reach the National Living Wage rate in 2020 – likely to be £9.35 an hour


The Branch will be carrying out a consultation on the employer’s offer in the next week to gauge how our members feel about the offer.

– In any case, almost two thirds of councils are now paying the real Living Wage of £7.85 pence an hour and £9.15 pence in London, so they would not face the cost of the National Living Wage. The employers’ estimate of the cost of our claim is over-inflated

– Members in the LGPS will start paying 1.4% National Insurance contributions from 1 April 2016 when ‘contracting out’ ends, reducing the pay offer further

– More than half of the cost of our claim for the real Living Wage for the lowest paid and £1 an hour for everyone above that rate would be met from higher tax and National Insurance income and reduced benefit costs. (Attached is research showing that, produced for us by the New Policy Institute)

– Many employers are cutting sick pay, annual leave and other NJC conditions. The employers refused to meet our claim for future protection of these conditions

We are currently working on calculations of the impact of the removal of contracting out from National Insurance on the two years of the offer. These will be made available as soon as possible.



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