Employers need to think again on pay freeze

Local government employers have finally given their response to the 2010 pay claim from unions, saying there will be no pay offer but a pay freeze for all employees.

In an effort to get an early settlement the three trade unions involved in the National Joint Council put forward the 2010 pay claim in early November.  This claim was for a one year deal of 2.5% or £500 whichever was the greater.

Unions are calling for the employers to think again, come to their senses and make a reasonable offer, saying that there is room in council budgets to give workers decent pay.  Unions say that local government workers will struggle to afford basic essentials, with nearly 3% inflation rendering the pay freeze a real terms pay cut. 

Norwich City Branch Secretary and Chair of the regional Local Government Committee, Kevin O'Grady, said:

"It is a disgraceful way for the employers to respond to what was a genuine claim for a modest rise in pay. This has been done without any negotiation with the trade union side and shows a total lack of respect for loyal and hardworking staff. Without doubt a pay freeze is a pay cut and I know that our members will be very unhappy with the employers approach."

UNISON Head of Local Government, Heather Wakefield, said:

"The employer's decision to cut our members' pay without negotiation is a slap in the face for hard working council employees who have kept local communities together through the crisis.

"Two thirds already earn less than £18k a year. Last year George Osborne, Tory shadow chancellor said the Tories would not freeze pay for those earning in this pay bracket, now the Tory LGA is doing just that.

"Our members are already covering posts left vacant by wide-spread redundancies. 75% of the workforce are women so this is an outright attack on women's pay.

"We know that councils can afford an increase. Council reserves have grown, while many have chosen to cut their own income by freezing council tax. Our members will be outraged by this threatened pay freeze.

"The trade unions will meet urgently to consider the next steps."

The Trade Union Side of the NJC will meet on 3 February to consider the unions response.

Give us your views on this by email   unison@norwich.gov.uk