Labour Research January 2018


Awards must be properly funded

Local government unions have called on the government to make sure pay awards for school and council staff are properly funded after local government employers offered a pay increase of 2% for both 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The offer from the local government association covers local authority workers and school support staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is currently being considered by the three staff unions, Unite, UNISON and the GMB. Under the proposed award, lower paid staff will get a higher pay rise of up to 16% over the two years. This will ensure that the lowest rates will keep up with increases in the National Living Wage. The proposals also include a revamp of the National Joint Council for local government services pay scales. 

Local government and school staff are among the lowest paid in the public sector and have been hit hard by real terms pay cuts since 2010. 

A joint letter from the three unions to chancellor Phillip Hammond called for a firm commitment that the award will be funded by central government. It referred to a 22% real terms cut in basic pay for staff driven by the government’s cuts to local government finance — which will amount to 75% by 2020.

Unite national officer Jim Kennedy said a failure to commit extra funding would “lead to the crisis in local government deepening [and] services suffering”.