Monday, July 20, 2009

Please can we have some more?

Today's Morning Star reports that the local government trade unions are now directly lobbying Councillors to try to break the logjam in this year's pay negotiation.

The UNISON Head of Local Government is quoted as saying that the two sides "came to a revised agreement for a modest and very affordable increase" before the employers failed to decide whether to make the offer.

This is not quite what the joint union circular says of course. This talks about the 1% pay offer (with 1.25% for the lowest paid)(which is not an offer as it has not been offered) as a 'potential new offer' which is probably more accurate.

The questions which we now face are twofold. What do we do if the employers don't budge - and what do we do if they do make a 'potential new offer worth' less than half the average budget provision set aside by our employers for our pay this year?

At the moment our approach appears to draw inspiration from an unusual source.

Nevertheless, the political motivations of the employers' side seem to me to be the most interesting feature of this year's pay round – and to be something about which we should be telling our members more.

If the employers simply want to achieve the objectives of the constituent members to contain pay costs then they could easily make the 'potential new offer'.

If there is an agenda on the employers's side to seek to humiliate union negotiators and weaken national pay bargaining (and indeed the principle of collective bargaining over pay) then that would explain why the offer might not be made.

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