FAQ on the 2022 pay campaign

1 What is the pay claim?

Every year all the major unions in Local Government (UNISON, GMB, Unite) meet with the employers to submit a new wage claim. This happens at the National Joint Council (NJC) where unions meet with leaders of Local Government. Due to the cost of living crisis the unions submitted a pay claim for every worker in Local Government to get a minimum of £2000 pay increase or linked to RPI inflation (whichever is higher). 

2. Will the employers accept this?

It is unlikely that they will accept it, they might come back with an offer of 3%-5% for instance.

3. That sounds good? Better than what I have had recently!

If we accept an offer of 5% with inflation at 11% then that will be a 6% pay cut in real terms.

4. What did we get last year?

Last year we were offered 1.75% and we balloted for strike action but nationally the turn out was too low so we ended up having to accept it. The 1.75% ‘increase’ was wiped out by the rise in National Insurance Contributions so many people didn’t really get much of a pay rise at all, not even counting inflation.

This was on the back of a decade of real term pay cuts which has seen all local government workers lose around 25% of their pay in real terms.

5. So what is the next step?

We are waiting for the  employer to get back to us with their counter offer.  Once we get that the plan we are likely to move straight to a ballot on industrial action.

6. Tell me more about the strike ballot

This will be an official ballot for industrial action. It will be by post as that is required by law so you cannot vote online. If we are balloted then everyone must fill in their ballot and then return it before the deadline. We need to get at least a 50% turn out with a resounding yes vote to be able to take action in pursuit of our claim.

7. Will this be a national ballot?

This will be a disaggregated ballot, which means that it will be employer by employer. This means if we get a solid vote in Lambeth then we can take action alongside other branches that also met the threshold of a 50% turn out.

8. What if I don’t really want to strike though?

Once all the petitions have been handed in and all the emails to MPs have been sent and the negotiations with the employers have hit a brick wall, the only thing that they will listen to is workers fighting back with their ultimate weapon, to withdraw their labour. Every serious gain that we have made as workers, from the weekend to eight-hour days to sick pay to holiday entitlement has been from sticking together and fighting together. That is what a union is all about.

If we strike it will mean a fight to force an increase from the government – we will be taking action the same as the railyway workers, postal workers and others across the economy who simply cannot take it any more and need our pay to reflect the cost of living.

UNISON also has strike pay of £50 a day which you can claim if we do strike.

The more important question might be – can you afford not to strike? Will you settle for a 4% pay increase given the huge problems of inflation?

9. How can I help?

Update your details on http://www.unison.org.uk/my-unison to make sure your address is up to date.  If your postal ballot goes to the wrong place then that might mean you lose your ability to vote.

Recruit your workmates to UNISON, tell them about the pay campaign and what we are doing to help improve lives for workers.

Offer to help with ring rounds or workplace meetings – we need to speak to every member of the branch who is being balloted and make sure they have voted. This means we need volunteers to help call 5-10 people each and confirm they have voted so we can check them off the list.  Please contact Simon or Jocelyn (shannah@lambeth.gov.uk and jcruywagen@lambeth.gov.uk) to offer to help out.

Voting on the strike ballot starts today!

Ballot papers are being dispatched to your homes as we launch the fight for the 10% pay increase we all deserve.

Local government workers have had enough and it is time to stand up and be counted.  We have lost 23% of our pay since 2010. Enough is Enough

We have had a message of solidarity from the Lambeth Labour Group backing our fight for decent pay.

For more information on the ballot please visit our campaign website.

Look our for your ballot papers – they will come in an envelope marked IMPORTANT YOUR VOTING PAPERS ENCLOSED

Please vote as soon as you get your ballot papers. Email Ruth Cashman at Rcashman@lambeth.gov.uk to confirm you have voted so we don’t have to contact you separately!

In solidarity,

Lambeth Labour supports our pay campaign

Lambeth Labour Councillors support the campaign by local government workers for better pay.

They have published this statement from Cllr Andy Wilson who is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance and a councillor in Larkhall ward.

The last 18 months have been both tumultuous and terrifying, where the effects of the pandemic and the lockdown touched upon each of our lives.

Despite the upheaval that we all faced in our lives during those dark days, I am proud to report that 100% of essential services were delivered by Lambeth Council during this challenging time.

This is testament to the effort, dedication and professionalism of our local government workers, exhibiting a spirit of public service and hard work in maintaining provision for some of our most vulnerable residents during the most trying of times.

Since 2010 local government workers have suffered a 23% pay cut in their pay due to a decade and counting of austerity, public sector pay freezes and year on year inflation. Inflation is at 6% RPI and we are all facing a take home pay cut next year due to the increase in National Insurance Contributions.

The 1.75% pay offer is in reality a pay cut for hundreds of thousands of staff across the country. Lambeth Labour believes in a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s pay, and we support the joint calls from UNISON, The GMB, and Unite The Union for a pay award that reflects this.

Our residents and local government workers deserve better with a pay award that recognises the worth of the people that kept the show on the road during the height of the pandemic and beyond.

Solidarity with Tower Hamlets workers!

Tower Hamlets Council – which is a Labour run authority – is planning to ‘sack and re-engage’ its entire workforce in order to force them to accept worse terms and conditions.

‘Sack and re-engage’ is what Asda did to its workforce before Christmas. British Airways is doing it to its worekrs now. It is shocking to see a Labour run council deploy the same tactic.

The new plan, called Tower Rewards, includes:

– Out of hours pay is reduced
– Severance pay has been slashed
– Reduces the Flexi scheme
– Worsens pay for some grades
– Staff being asked to work anywhere in the borough with little notice whilst travel allowances are being cut.

There is an online rally being organised by Tower Hamlets UNISON on Friday 3 July at 11am – register online here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/friday-3rd-monday-6th-tower-rewards-strike-virtual-picket-and-rally-tickets-110797373928
We will stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tower Hamlets UNISON and other unions resisting this awful attack on their working conditions.

Emergency motion to the Lambeth UNISON AGM – Picturehouse strikes

Support the Picturehouse Strikes!

Picturehouse workers are going to take strike action for over two weeks at the end of January. This is part of their campaign for the Living Wage, and also to get four colleagues re-instated who were sacked by Picturehouse for campaigning for the Living Wage. All four were trade union reps. Cineworld, who owns Picturehouse, made over £90 million profit last year, pays their Chief Executive £2.5 million a year and their directors over £1 million a year. Yet they continue to pay their workers poverty wages, and employ them with bad terms and conditions.

Picturehouse has responded to the strike by saying they will lock workers out of the Ritzy, even on days where there aren’t any strikes, to try and break the strike by denying them any wages at all. Previously they wrote to all the workers to say they would sack any workers taking strike action.

Lambeth UNISON has been a key organisation in supporting the Community Pickets outside the Ritzy cinema over the past nine months. This motion asks the AGM to support the workers in their two week strike and the strike fund that needs to raise £20,000 so workers on poverty wages can continue their strike.

The AGM resolves to:

  • Contribute £750 to the strike fund.
  • Continue Lambeth UNISON’s support of the Community Pickets.
  • Support demonstrations and pickets by the Picturehouse workers during the two week strike.
  • Support direct action taken by the community campaign to assist the striking workers.