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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 March 2007

Council unions reject 2% pay offer

UNISON AND the other unions representing local government workers have rejected the employers' pay offer of 2%. In so doing they have defied the 2% public-sector pay freeze imposed by New Labour chancellor Gordon Brown.

Roger Bannister, UNISON national executive, personal capacity

With inflation already running at 4.6%, this pay offer represents a cut in real earnings for millions of workers, including hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers.

The claim is for: a one-year deal of 5% or 1,000 a year, a minimum hourly rate of 6.30, one extra day's leave, a minimum of 25 days' leave, a 35-hour week, increased night shift allowance and increased sleep-in allowance.

It is significant that Gordon Brown's imposed pay restraint was announced within hours of press speculation that hard-line supporters of Tony Blair were considering running a candidate against Brown in the forthcoming Labour leadership contest. In a shabby attempt to "out-Blair the Blairites" Brown announced this attack on public-sector workers, a cheap attempt to curry favour with the party's right wing.

Local government is a predominantly low-paid service, with 60% of employees earning below 15,825 per year, 8,000 below the average wage. Treasury forecasts predict that average earnings will increase by 5.5% this year. In local government, senior managers' pay has already increased by 6%, in stark contrast to the treatment meted out to their long-suffering staff.

Local government achieved 3 billion savings last year, (cuts to most of us!). This massive under-funding of the service and its employees has to stop.

The unions have rejected the 2% offer but are continuing to negotiate with the employers. Unless it becomes clear very soon that the employers are prepared to put more money on the table, they should be preparing to ballot the members for action.

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In The Socialist 29 March 2007:

Council workers fight pay cut scandal

The 'Single Status' scandal

Council unions reject 2% pay offer

Fighting cuts and privatisation

Stop council's sell-off plans


Socialist Party NHS campaign

PUSH for mass demo


What we think

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Tenants defeat housing sell-off

Universities fail to accept state school pupils

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Fast News


Socialist Party election campaign

For the millions, not the millionaires


Socialist Party feature

Hands off our postal service!

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Northern Ireland agreement

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International socialist news and analysis

Italy: What future for Prc?

Turkish state attacks Kurdish protestors


Socialist Party workplace news

Airbus walkout - joint action needed across Europe

Reject regional pay

Determined campaigners win reprieve

Manchester Unity Stewards and activists group

Hants library workers fight cuts

Sacked electricians win tribunal ruling

Ealing workers fight pay cuts


 

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