Saturday, December 08, 2007

Local Government Pay 2008 - what to ask for and how to get it?

Hat’s off to my fellow NEC blogger John McDermott – who was in ahead of me with his NEC report and has blogged since about the local government pay claim.

UNISON branches are being consulted on the claim – though we have very little time in which to give our views I am very sympathetic to the need for early agreement on a claim so that it can be submitted quickly. The NJC Committee agreed there should not be a repeat of the long and drawn out negotiations over pay that occurred this year, and that the claim should be for a headline figure of 6%. They also agreed the claim should seek to substantially increase pay at the bottom end, with a view to making progress towards a minimum hourly rate of £6.75.

The GMB has already arrived at a settled view which is to call for;

* 7% or 75p/hour increase, whichever is the greater, for a one-year deal.

* A 35 hour week with no detriment.

* 2 days additional annual leave with no detriment.

* Improvements to car mileage payments.

* An increase to the night shift allowance to achieve double time over three years.

* An increase to the sleep-in allowance to £60 per shift.

The UNISON NJC Committee are recommending that the service conditions issues should be part of a separate claim as part of the joint review of the Green Book (the national agreement). The London Regional Local Government Executive discussed this earlier in the week as I reported earlier.

My friend and comrade Malcolm Campbell expressed support for a flat rate claim – which is what I shall argue for in my branch. I’d be interested to know what other branches are thinking of.

We also need to discuss tactics for strike action over the national pay dispute which we will inevitably be having next year. Is our objective to break the 2% norm or to achieve an above inflation increase? How do we motivate those who will be or are already on pay protection as a result of Single Status to campaign for a pay rise they may not see immediately (depending upon the status of their protection)?

There’s a lot to think about.

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