Local government workers’ unions have told the Local Government employers’ body that they consider themselves to be in formal dispute, after bosses failed to make a pay offer for 2014/2015.
Bosses also insisted that any offer they did make would be “pegged” to the national minimum wage, thereby rejecting unions’ demand that all local government employers pay at least the Living Wage (£8.80 in London and £7.65 elsewhere).
Heather Wakefield, head of Local Government at Unison, the biggest public sector union, said: “Our members are now beginning to say that they’d rather lose a few days’ pay and strike than lose more pay, paid leave and sick pay for evermore. More and more feel that strike action is the only way in which their crucial contribution is noticed. Who can blame them?”
Unison leaders’ realisation that strikes will be necessary to force concessions from employers is welcome, if woefully late.
Rank-and-file union members must make sure union leaders follow through strike threats instead of capitulating, as in previous years.