PAY NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE
The National Employers met today in order to consider developments in this year’s pay round and I am now writing to you with a summary of the current position.
On 9 December the National Employers made a final two-year pay offer of 1.00% increases in 2016 and 2017 for employees on pay points 18 and above.
However, over that same two-year period employees on pay points 6 to 17 would receive increases in pay of between 10.28% and 2.30%. The increase on the bottom pay point 6 would produce an hourly rate of £7.52 this year and £7.78 in April 2017; some way above the new National Living Wage of £7.20.
The total increase to the national paybill resulting from this offer is 2.4% over two years (covering the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018). Approximately 0.4% of this figure is designed to build in some headroom between our bottom pay rate and the new National Living Wage in order to start the process of moving towards the expected level of the National Living Wage by 2020.
UNISON and Unite conducted ballots of their memberships through their local branches and recommended that the offer be rejected, which it duly was, albeit on apparently low turnouts. UNISON has also sought permission from its Industrial Action Committee to conduct a ballot for an all-out strike. We understand that that request is still being considered.
However, GMB conducted a secret postal ballot via the home addresses of its individual members and the offer was accepted by a majority of 9:1 on a 23% turnout.
The Trade Union Side met on 18 March to consider its next steps but was unable to agree a joint position. On 22 March UNISON and Unite wrote directly to members of the National Employers’ Side proposing informally that we make a revised one-year pay offer Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ T 020 7187 7373 F 020 7664 3030 E email@example.com www.local.gov.uk Registered Office Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ
and agree a timetable for completion of the reviews of the pay spine and term-time working (both of which were part of our original offer).
The National Employers discussed this at their meeting today and concluded unanimously that they were not prepared to consider this informal proposal, for the following reasons:
1. Two clear messages emerged from the regional pay consultation briefings with councils last year: (i) that the size of a pay award should not exceed one per cent and (ii) that the duration of a pay award should be two years in order to provide financial certainty for councils and employees as well as some breathing space for the NJC to find a way of restructuring the national pay spine to take account of the impact of the National Living Wage.
2. UNISON and Unite have told us they would have to reballot their memberships on any revised offer. Therefore, an agreement could not be guaranteed even if a revised offer were made.
3. The unions have also said that they would submit a new pay claim for 2017 in the usual way later this year. This would delay further any discussions on restructuring the pay spine which we know councils are keen to see get underway.
4. Finally, and very importantly, national collective bargaining requires the participation of the two full Sides of the NJC to engage in negotiations and reach agreements. UNISON’s and Unite’s informal proposal that we make a revised offer is unequivocally not supported by GMB which wishes to see agreement reached on the current two-year pay offer which its members have accepted.
The National Employers are keen for a deal on the current pay offer to be achieved as soon as possible so that our hard working employees can receive a pay rise. We have today written to the three unions asking them to meet with us quickly in order to draft Terms of Reference and agree a timetable for, and the composition of, Working Groups to take the pay spine and term-time reviews forward.
We have also urged UNISON and Unite to reach agreement with us on the two-year pay offer we made on 9 December.
I shall continue to update you with developments.
Head of Workforce
Posted: 6th April 2016