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Unions demand local government employers rethink 'ridiculously low' pay deal

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Trade unions have warned local government employers the 0.5% pay deal they are offering staff is 'mean and paltry' but must negotiate an alternative by 1 June to avoid a pay freeze.

According to trade union Unison the pay deal equates to an extra 3p per hour for thousands of staff including care home workers, teaching assistants, road sweepers, cleaners and bin men, and 7p extra for social workers and planners.

Heather Wakefield, Unison head of local government, said: "How can employers expect their hard-pressed workforce to exist on this breathtakingly mean offer of a paltry 3p an hour extra - that is just £55 a year.

"Who can honestly expect us to consider this acceptable? It is just not realistic and we know employers have already put aside money for the increase of between 1.5% and 2.5%. How can they hope to recruit and retain enough social workers to make sure children at risk are protected when they are offering a ridiculously low amount - what sort of carrot is this?"

But in a letter to the unions, Sarah Messenger, employers secretary at the National Employers for Local Government Services, said: "The offer reflects the wider context of redundancies, pay freezes and even pay cuts for workers across the economy and it is important local government authorities are sensitive to public perception of the position of public sector workers. Out offer is limited to not only what we can afford, but what we can justify to council tax payers."