Friday, July 17, 2009

To pay or not to pay

I have not yet been able to contain the excitement of Wednesday's Regional Local Government Executive for long enough to blog a proper report but I must comment that yesterday's bulletin on pay (following a meeting of the NJC Committee earlier in the day) exactly bears out yesterday's report from our Regional NJC Committee representatives.

Today we learn that a 1% pay offer (with 1.25% for the very lowest paid) had indeed been discussed and that the politicians have simply refused to make that offer.

The statement from the trade unions tells the tale as well as I could;

" At a meeting of the full Trade Union Side of the NJC for local government services held on 16 July 2009 it was agreed to issue the following joint statement:-

1. 2009 pay negotiations for 1.6 million local authority workers began with the Trade Unions submitting a claim for improvements on 14 January 2009.

2. The Local Government Employers, on behalf of local authorities, made a written formal offer on 6 April 2009.

3. The offer dated 06 April 2009 was for a 0.5% pay increase with a deadline for agreement of 31 May 2009.

4. The Trade Unions rejected the 0.5% offer and deadline on 7 April 2009 and requested an urgent meeting of the full NJC

5. The full NJC was held on 22 April 2009 where it was agreed to continue negotiations via the NJC Executive and joint secretarial negotiations.

6. Trade Union and Local Government Employer negotiators held discussions during May 2009 with a view to reaching a new offer. On 21 May 2009 after six hours of talks a 'potential new offer' emerged and comprised of:

o A 1.25% increase in pay for those on scale points 4-10 inclusive

o A 1% increase for those above scale point 10, up to scale point 49

o An increase in minimum annual leave entitlement of 1 day from 1 April 2009 and a further day from 1 April 2010

o an increase in all allowances by 1%

o An increase in the sleeping-in allowance to £35.35p

o A review of parental entitlements by 1/10/09 and appropriate implementation thereafter

o Conclusion of a joint 'best practice redundancy avoidance' agreement by 1/9/09

7. The NJC trade unions raised the issue of the employer's deadline and were told unequivocally by the LGE Officials that while productive negotiations were ongoing the 31 May deadline would be held in abeyance.

8. The Local Government Employers undertook to put the 'potential new offer' to the political leaders of the Local Government Association (LGA) for approval following which it could become a formal offer on which the Unions could consult members.

9. It has been reported to the Trade Unions that the political leaders of the LGA have so far been unable to decide whether to approve the 21 May 'potential new offer' or to do anything else and there is no foreseeable prospect that they will.

10. This indecision is unfair to council workers. It is a political derogation of the responsibility of employers towards their employees and shows a total lack of respect. The impasse is not acceptable to the Trade Unions.

11. The trade unions are aware that the Employers' Side are meeting to take a decision before the end of July. We request that a full NJC meeting take place that same day for the Employers' Side to report or by the end of July at the latest."

There isn't a local authority in the NJC that hasn't set aside at least enough in its budget to enable the employers to make the revised offer - it's almost as if the political majority on the employers' side are out to sabotage national pay bargaining...

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