UNISON to seek binding arbitration over pay

UNISON, have pledged to approach ACAS for binding arbitration over the employer’s decision to hit workers with a third year of pay freeze misery.

The union expressed their disgust that even the lowest paid will not get a rise this year. The 70% of NJC workers earning less than £21,000 have been denied the £250 minimum increase promised to them in the Chancellor, George Osborne’s, June 2010 budget.

Many local government workers are already facing poverty. More than a quarter of the workforce – made up of 75% women – now earn less than the Living Wage of £7.20 per hour. Pay in local government is now worth 10% less than in 1996 and many have to rely on benefits and tax credits to keep their heads above water.

Heather Wakefield, UNISON head of local government, said:

“UNISON members, both the low paid and the squeezed middle, in local government have suffered enough. Many families are already in poverty – with parents forced to cut back on spending even for their children. Today our reps from around the country universally expressed their disgust and anger at the employer’s decision to hit them with a third year of pay freeze misery. We heard loud and clear that they can’t take any more.

“Under the national agreement, unions have the right to seek binding arbitration over pay. The employer’s refusal to negotiate means we have little choice but to approach ACAS - something we will be doing in a matter of days. We hope that the employers will join us in that process.”