UNISON calls on LGA to engage in further talks with trade unions over pay dispute

UNISON, the union representing 600,000 local government workers, is today calling on the Local Government Association to re-consider its refusal to take part in arbitration through ACAS and engage in further talks with trade unions.  The call comes following the union’s announcement to ballot members for strike action following the a consultative ballot which showed 70% of members rejected the employer's 1% pay offer.
Local government workers have already endured three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by below-inflation rises in 2013 and 2014, leaving their pay reduced by almost 20% since the Coalition came to power.

In a strongly worded letter to the LGA, Heather Wakefield, UNISON Head of Local government said:

“I am very disappointed that the LGA has already decided that it is not prepared to enter any arbitration talks via Acas as provided for in the collective agreement.

“The LGA has rightly acknowledged the hard work and incredible effort local government workers are making to keep services going under the strain of unprecedented cuts and almost 500,000 redundancies.

“But since 2010, our members have had a three-year freeze followed by a below inflation settlement in 2013 and the same in this year’s offer. At the same time, local government reserves have risen to over £19 billion. That means that councils have chosen to bank money, rather than reward the very people who are keeping their council services going – our members.

“The LGA have made a choice which has led to many of our members accumulating large debts and relying on payday loans, handouts from their families and charity from UNISON’s own welfare section and food banks. No other part of the public has suffered such an ignominious decline in pay and conditions.

 “UNISON stands ready to enter further negotiations at any point, as do other unions”