At a meeting of senior local government members from throughout the country held on 23 April, GMB agreed a programme to start the local government and schools pay campaign which will build toward the next round of negotiations later this year. We are in the middle of a two year pay agreement but our intention is not to wait until that runs its course but instead we want to get our arguments across to the employers as early as possible.
GMB will be putting forward -
- A 5% pay rise or paying the Living Wage, whichever is the greater
- Protecting the national Green Book agreement and its terms and conditions
- Removing the term time pay penalty that falls on school support staff
I make no apologies for what some might consider an ambitious set of ideas. Firstly, pay for local government and school workers has been cut by 18% in real terms and we need to start trying to restore that. The employers will plead poverty and we know we cannot ignore that when we enter the negotiations but it is not a reason to reduce what GMB believes is a reasonable aspiration. Secondly, the basic terms and conditions that are contained in the national agreement, known as the Green Book, is now often a basic protection for our members and must be maintained. Thirdly, the unfair pay reduction that school support staff suffer because of term time working should be resolved – although we know it will need a Labour government that has promised to reintroduce the School Support Staff Negotiating Body to achieve this.
So GMB believes in these proposals and we will be putting them forward to a joint meeting with the other local government trade unions in May which will determine the final claim to be submitted formally to the employers. Although the next pay review date isn’t until April 2016 it is imperative that our campaign starts as soon as possible if we are to break the cycle of low pay rises.
I will let you know what the final TU side claim is next month.
Stop Press: Our colleagues in Unison recently had a branch officers conference which decided to ask the national employers to re-open the current pay deal that all unions agreed after members voted for it. The employers have responded with an unequivocal ‘no’ and I hope that this will not interfere with the new pay campaign we all need to work towards.