Unison local government members emphatically reject insulting pay offer

Surrey Unison on the march against austerity last April.

Surrey Unison on the march against austerity last April.   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Unison member and local government worker

In a Unison consultative ballot of local government workers, 79% of members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who voted put a cross on the ballot form to reject the employers’ insulting offer of 1.75%. This is clear indication of the anger and frustration of members who have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% since 2010. They now face increasing gas bills and inflation around 4%. Many are having their Universal Credit cut and/or face increased national insurance payments. The size of the majority rejecting the pay offer clearly put pressure on Unison’s National Joint Council (NJC) to move to ballot members about taking strike action on pay.

Unison and the other local authority unions Unite and GMB are calling for a 10% pay increase. The whole of the union must now be mobilised to assist and support branches in getting the vote out to surpass the Tories’ 50% voting threshold. Rallies, marches and meetings need to be organised to mobilise members to vote for industrial action.

The left-led national executive council needs to ensure that the resources of the union are harnessed to get out the vote. Members need to hear from the national executive and the NJC that they are prepared to lead from the front and help organise mass sustained strike action, coordinated with other Unison service groups such as health where possible, and with Unite, GMB and other public sector unions.

In order to win our pay claim, the main weapon in our armoury must be deployed, and that is mass strike action across local government. Selective or targeted strike action will not win the day on their own and they should only be used as an auxiliary to mass strike action.