Council employees offered 1% pay rise

Bin men The offer is the same as a rise given to workers last year

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Council employees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who earn more than £14,880 are being offered a 1% pay rise this year.

Those on lower salaries will be offered a "slightly higher increase", the Local Government Association said.

The offer could affect more than one million staff and follows a 1% rise last year, after a three-year wage freeze.

Unison, which represents 600,000 workers, said it was "outraged".

It said council employees had already endured a "devastating three-year pay freeze and then a miserly 1% increase last year, representing a fall in pay in real terms back to the level of the 1990s".

The pay offer does not affect teachers, firefighters, chief executives or senior officers. They are covered by separate pay arrangements.

Financial pressures

Cllr Sian Timoney, who chaired talks between employers on the matter, said there had been a "broad consensus" in favour of a deal.


Councils say they are facing a severe spending squeeze. Under such circumstances, they argue that they face a bleak decision. Hold pay down or cut jobs.

Those in charge of local government believe there are no easy savings left to make, and no quick fixes. To avoid a mass cull of staff, they have to avoid large pay increases.

This offer tries to address what some believe is a crisis of low pay in local government, by giving the least well-off the biggest increase - of around 4%.

But unions say that still leaves many earning barely more than the minimum wage.

A strike over pay is by no means certain. But the level of union anger is certainly rising.

The offer comes "at a time when local government is tackling the biggest cuts in living memory" and will add more than £164m to the local government pay bill, she said.

She added: "This offer balances our commitment to increase the pay of our hardworking employees with the responsibility we have to address the significant financial pressures we face.

"We believe that this is a fair deal for employees, given the limits of what we can afford, and a fair deal for the taxpayers and residents who use and pay for the vital services which local government provides."

But unions said workers would be "dismayed" at the offer.

Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB union, said: "The extra for the lowest paid is welcome but is worth only a few pence on the hourly rate.

"It still leaves the local government workforce as the poor relations of the public sector, and councils can afford more because they are squirrelling away hundreds of millions in reserves."

Unison's head of local government, Heather Wakefield, said the 1% deal was a "slap in the face for the vast majority of local government workers".

The plans meant "the vast majority of local government workers have effectively been offered another pay cut", she said.

Both the GMB and Unison said they would consult their members.

The offer does not affect council staff in Scotland. Last October, Scottish councils imposed a pay deal on staff after almost a year of negotiations failed to provide an agreement.

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