Friday, October 10, 2014

Local Government Pay Proposals - Rubbish now and Rubbish in the future



We have now got the revised proposals from the local government employers, which are the basis upon which strike action on Tuesday was postponed to consult members. The only change from the proposals covered earlier on this blog are that those of us above spine point 26 (on the national pay spine) who would have been worse off under the previous proposals than under the 1% offer against which we took strike action will now get an additional lump sum in April 2015 so that we are no worse off (and no better off) in the current pay year than had we not taken strike action and just settled for the 1%.

The pay proposals from the local government employers are rubbish now and rubbish in the future.

Rubbish now

In the current year the new pay proposals from the local government employers offer;
·       No more money  in 2014/15 than if we had accepted the employers’ first offer for everyone who earns more than £430.41 gross a week;
·       A pittance extra in 2014/15 for those earning less – barely enough to buy a round of drinks and much less than has been lost by those who took strike action on 10 July;
·       Coming nowhere near our objective of a flat rate increase of at least one pound an hour;
·       Failing to achieve the living wage for workers up to spine point 10.

Comparing the proposals to the original offer in 2014/15 (national pay spine) at various points demonstrates just how trivial the “gain” for the lowest paid is in these proposals compared to the previous offer;
Spine point
Value of previous offer £pa
Value of “proposal” £pa
Gain £pa
Equivalent gain per month
Equivalent gain per week
5
580
591
+11
92p
21p
10
175
182
+7
58p
13p
21
193
207
+14
£1.17
27p
26
224
224
0
0
0
31
265
265
0
0
0
41
349
349
0
0
0

Even for those who make some gain in 2014/15, this is far less then the cost of having taken a day’s strike action on 10 July (based on the national pay spine);
Spine point
Gain
Deduction at 1/365th
Deduction at 1/260th
5
£11
£34
£48
10
£7
£38
£54
21
£14
£53
£74

Rubbish in the future

The proposal doesn’t achieve the living wage or anything like it. 
For the low paid, we sought to achieve the living wage of £7.65 per hour (£14,759 a year, for a full-time worker based upon a 37 hour week). The “proposal” leaves everyone on spine point 10 and below earning less than the living wage (set in October 2014) until at leastApril 2016.

The proposal does nothing to make up for the decline in our earnings.
The UNISON online pay calculator shows how much worse off we are as a result of the pay freeze. A worker earning £12,435 (well below the living wage) is £2,248 a year worse off but is being offered only £1,065 to make up for this, with nothing more until April 2016. A worker earning £24,982 is £4,905 a year worse off but is being offered only £547.62 to make up for this, with nothing more until April 2016.

The proposal does not break the Government’s 1% pay policy.
The appearance of a 2.2% increase in 2015/16 can only be achieved by sleight of hand, ignoring the fact that this is a two year deal (paid nine months late) and that the very worst we could have expected anyway, without any campaign or industrial action, would have been two successive 1% pay awards, which together would have been worth a combined 2.01% anyway. A settlement on the basis of this “proposal” would be gambling away our opportunity to fight for a decent pay rise in 2015 (a year in which a General Election will be fought in large part on the issue of living standards) in return for an increase 0.19% larger than the worst we could otherwise have expected.
Spine point (national pay spine)
Annual salary in 2015/16 under the “proposal” £pa
Annual salary in 2015/16 based upon two 1% increases £pa
Benefit of the “proposal” £pa in 2015/16
Monthly benefit of the “proposal” in 2015/16
Weekly benefit of the “proposal” in 2015/16
11
15,207.36
15,179.09
28.27
£2.36
54p
21
19,741.97
19,705.27
36.70
£3.06
70p
26
22,936.75
22,894.10
42.65
£3.55
82p
31
27,122.86
27,072.43
50.43
£4.20
97p
41
35,661.67
35,595.37
68.30
£5.69
£1.31

The majority who voted to suspend strike action in order to "consult" upon this rubbish should hang their heads in shame. Anyone in any trade union who tries to persuade trade unionists to accept this scandalously inadequate pay offer is either a scoundrel or an idiot. 

Any self-respecting local government worker offered a vote on these appalling proposals should reject them.

And any self-respecting trade union activist in local government should campaign for rejection (and ignore anyone who tells them not to).

We know that, within UNISON, the London and North West Regions in particular are solidly opposed to this rubbish, with support from delegates in the south. However within Regions whose delegates backed capitulation, there are large and important branches (such as Newcastle and Birmingham) where there is opposition.

We must not be defeatist in our approach to a campaign to reject this derisory set of proposals, a campaign which we can kick off through our participation in the TUC demonstration on 18 October.

1 comment:

Martin Wicks said...

What was their argument in favour of suspension and putting this to ballot?