Local government employees, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, start voting today (Wednesday 11 June) on possible strike action over the ‘insulting’ one per cent pay offer.
Thousands of ballot papers are dropping on the doormats of members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland over whether they wish to take strike action or industrial action short of a strike after enduring four years of pay cuts in real terms. The ballot closes on Monday 30 June.
Unite is seeking a £1-an-hour increase in pay for the local council workforce which has 400,000 employees earning below £15,000 a year and a million earning less than £21,000.
Unite won’t be balloting its members in Scotland where the devolved administration has agreed to pay the ‘living wage’ to all council staff.
The industrial action ballot follows a consultative ballot where members rejected the pay offer for 2014/15 by a 90 per cent margin.
Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: “Our members have endured four years of pay cuts in real terms and they have now said: ‘Enough is enough’ to poverty pay.
“We are expecting a strong mandate for industrial action which could take place on 10 July. Any industrial action that Unite may take will be coordinated with the other local authority trade unions to achieve maximum impact.
“The aim is to get the employers back around the table to negotiate a fair deal for those who deliver vital local government services, from social care to refuse collection, on a daily basis.
“Poverty pay is widespread across local councils and we are seeking a £1 an hour increase across the board for local government workers.”
Unite has about 70,000 members in local government carrying out such jobs as refuse collection, maintenance of council property, traffic enforcement, school support and care services, and grave digging.
Vote YES for strike action to win fair pay
Unite’s local government industrial action ballot in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will start on 11 June after 90% of our members rejected the employers insulting 1% pay offer. Unite urges all members to vote YES to show the employer that you are serious about taking strike action to fight for a better pay rise. The ballot closes on 30 June. Unite is campaigning for fair pay and a decent living wage for all local government workers. How you can help: • Spread the word – use the campaign poster, leaflet and stickers in your workplace and encourage all your members to VOTE YES FOR ACTION • Share the facts – download ten reasons to vote YES for strike action • Show your support – sign the joint union petition – local government workers need a decent pay rise • email your local councillors – tell your local councillors to support our pay claim. Ask your friends and family to lobby their councillors too. We have made it really easy – you just need to enter your postcode below http://www.unitetheunion.org/campaigning/localgovernmentworkersfairpay/