Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Union to demand they show us their envelope...

I understand that UNISON’s National Joint Council Committee has agreed to respond to the employers hints that they might put 2.5% of the pay bill into an envelope for us by asking them to put it in writing.

At the moment the only formal offer is 2% across the board. The employers have indeed indicated that another 0.5% of the pay bill might be available – but no formal increase in the offer has been made.

Therefore the NJC Committee are going to ask for a formal offer as a basis to consult members – through branches – between now and the end of June. Our options will be to negotiate around how to share out 2.5% of the pay bill, or to proceed to ballot for strike action in support of our claim for 5%.

Although cynics will observe that the consultation period takes us past Local Government Conference, that does not mean that Conference cannot arrive at a sensible position on pay – there are amendments on the agenda calling for a strike ballot.

The answer to the apparent contradiction between a consultation process up to the end of June and a Conference decision to ballot would be for branches to get on with consulting their members right now so that we know that there is support for a ballot when we get to Brighton.

As the impact of not having had a pay increase in April increasingly makes itself felt the pressure from members for action on pay will increase. United action across local government, the health service and the civil service could defeat Government pay policy and protect the living standards of public servants.

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