UK

Council staff to strike in October over pay row

People on strike Image copyright AFP
Image caption Various unions took part in a strike on 10 July, with pay one of the key issues for many workers

Council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will strike in October in an ongoing row with the government.

Unison, Unite and GMB, which between them represent more than a million local government workers, said they had decided to "escalate" the pay dispute.

They say workers have taken a 20% real-terms pay cut since 2010. The strike will take place on 14 October.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA) called on union leaders to accept the pay offer.

The LGA has said the offer would increase the pay of most employees by 1%, while those on the lowest salaries would receive increases of between 1.25% and 4.66%.

'Paltry' offer

The latest strike comes after several unions took part in a day of action on 10 July after which the LGA said it would "not change the pay offer we have made", saying it was the "fairest possible deal".

Unions organising the October strike said their local government workers included care workers, librarians, cleaners, environmental health officers, street cleaners and teaching assistants.

"Local government workers have suffered three years of a pay freeze, followed by a below inflation pay deal and have now been offered a paltry 1%," the unions said in a joint statement.

Unions have said no further talks have taken place since the last strike, despite offering to go to the government's arbitration and conciliation service.

However, the LGA spokesman said the government expected the "majority" of people to be in work as normal on 14 October.

'At the limit'

"Most local government staff did not vote to strike and the vast majority did not take part in strike action earlier in July", the spokesman said.

"This is at the limit of what councils tackling the biggest cuts in living memory can afford.

"The sooner Unison, Unite and GMB accept this pay offer, the sooner this money can reach our employees who have been waiting for it since April," he added.

The union announcement comes as health workers are currently being balloted for industrial action in a separate row over pay, which could lead to strikes in October.

It also follows an announcement by the Fire Brigades Union that firefighters are to walk out in a separate row over pensions next month.

Tax workers from the Public and Commercial Services union have also said they are continuing a three-day walkout in an ongoing dispute over job losses and office closures, which began on Wednesday.

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