70,000 workers to be balloted over 1.75%! – Unite, Unison & GMB demand 10% rise

Thurrock Unite council workers at the waste and recycling department during their recent strike against pay cuts of up to £3,800 a year. Photo credit: Unite

SEVENTY thousand council workers are to be balloted in every borough in England and Wales in preparation for a strike action against a ‘derisory’ pay offer of 1.75 per cent, Unite announced yesterday.

Unite is furious at the 1.75 per cent  offer earmarked for council staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland made by the Local Government Association (with 2.75 per cent for those on the bottom pay point) for 2021/22.

They have seen their pay cut by 20% since the Tories took power and Unite, GMB and Unison are jointly demanding a 10% rise for all council workers.

Unite will hold the consultative ballot from Wednesday 1 September to Monday 4 October, as anger mounts across the public sector at the Treasury’s desire to suppress wage increases for key staff, despite the immense sacrifices that public sector workers have made during the continuing 18-month fight against coronavirus.

Unite national officer for local government Jim Kennedy said: ‘Our members have made a huge contribution to keep public services running during the continuing Covid crisis – they have been the glue that have held the fabric of our society together at a time of national emergency.

‘They have kept schools open, cared for our elderly, ensured the bins are emptied regularly, buried our dead and kept our libraries functioning – but this offer of 1.75 per cent is an insult and way below the RPI rate of inflation, currently standing at 3.8 per cent.

‘Our members, who have seen more than 20 per cent wiped from their pay packets during a decade of Tory council cuts, are furious at the derisory pay offer.

‘Therefore, we are holding a consultative ballot of our 70,000 members to see if they wish to proceed to an industrial action ballot in the autumn, with options up to strike action.’