Councils freeze pay for third year

Local government employers have announced that council staff will have their pay frozen for an “unprecedented” third year in a row. The pay freeze will affect 1.6 million local government employees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from April 2012. The decision comes at a time when pay awards monitored by XpertHR are running at their highest level since December 2008.

The Local Government Association said: “A combination of rising costs and shrinking local

government funding means councils were left with little choice. Increasing pay would

mean more job losses and cuts to the services people need.”

The trade union side of the National Joint Council for Local Government Services had put in a claim for a “substantial increase in pay” and the unions responded angrily to the employers’ refusal to make a pay offer. They have called for the matter be referred to Acas for arbitration. Heather Wakefield, Unison head of local government, described the decision as a “disgrace”. She said: “The employers must think again, and at the very least come through with the £250 minimum increase for the lowest paid.”

The GMB said the decision to impose a pay freeze for a third successive year had come as a shock and was “totally unacceptable”. National secretary Brian Strutton said the GMB would consult its members over industrial action if the employers refused to go to arbitration, while Unite national officer Peter Allenson said the union would “fully support its members in any action they are prepared to take for pay justice”.

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