Join Lambeth trade unions to build a fightback against the cost of living crisis.Continue reading
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) to offer to help out.
Local government workers deserve higher pay! Here is how we can get this campaign started before any potential ballot for strike action.
1 Email your local councillor
Local councillors can voice their support for a pay rise for council and school staff directly with local government employers. Please email your councillor and convince them to use their influence to support the pay claim. We’ve created a ready to send email that you can send at the click of a button, just visit:
2 Ask your colleagues to join UNISON
We’re stronger together. Check if your colleagues are members of UNISON and if they aren’t, show them how they can join – it only takes 5 minutes: join.unison.org.uk
3 Make sure your details are up to date
Check MyUNISON to make sure that we have the right contact information for you, as you don’t want important information on this campaign to go to the wrong place. You may be balloted by post and if your address is wrong then you could lose your chance to vote!
Head to: http://www.unison.org.uk/my-unison
4 Follow us on social media
Check out our facebook and twitter profiles to have your say on pay and get all of the latest up to date information on this campaign.
twitter.com/LambethUNISON – remember to mention #WeNeedMore
5 Prepare for the consultation
Make sure you’re ready to have your say when we ask for your view on the final pay offer. Talk to colleagues and really think about the pay rise you need so you can make an informed decision on whether to accept the offer or not. We might be offered 4% – but with inflation at 11% do you want to accept what is in effect a 7% ay cut?
Lambeth Labour councillors have passed a motion in support of the local govenment pay claim put in by UNISON and other unions. It is an excellent motion that puts the demand fair and square on the government to lift the pay cap and give workers a decent pay increase. We have lost around 14% of our pay since 2010 and our members are fed up. Job cuts, decimated services, constant reorganisations and low pay to boot – we have our work cut out to give local government the boost it needs to get back on its feet.
Our wages have fallen behind as prices and the cost of living increase.
In real terms we have lost 14% of our salary since 2010.
Now there is a campaign to break the public sector pay cap. UNISON and other public sector unions have put in a 5% pay claim.
But we all need to get behind this campaign to win it.
What you can do to help.
Please sign this Parliamentary petition to get it debated in Parliament. We need 100,000 signatures (currently on 73,000!) https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200032
Write to your MP and Councillors
You can write to your local councillors using UNISON’s easy to use website
To find your MPs contact details please visit
Wear badges and stickers
We have loads of badges and stickers in the union office in International House, please pop over to pick some up. If you are not allowed to wear them at work then wear them on outdoor coats, put stickers on the back of your mobile or the back of your ID badge.
Put posters up at work
We also have posters for union notice boards. Get in touch with us at the union office to get some.
Come on the rally outside Parliament on 17th October
There is a rally outside Parliament. Meeting at the Department of Health at 17:30 and marching down Whitehall for a rally at 6pm. Expect big name speakers like Jeremy Corbyn.
Lambeth UNISON will be heading there after our Branch Meeting earlier in the day.
The latest from our national union on the pay freeze – UNISON has pledged to break the 1% cap and put in a bid for 5%. Continue reading
On 24 February UNISON members at Lambeth college took strike action for a pay increase alongside UCU members.
Staff in FE haven’t got a pay increase since 2009, and with the cost of living increasing they have actually lost around 17% of their pay. This was a national strike to try and force the employers to take staff wages seriously.
The FE sector has suffered huge cuts since 2010, as the Tories have gutted public spending. They use the excuse of paying off the deficit, but as we know, the deficit has grown since 2010. All the while libraries are closed, schools face cuts and the NHS is being privatised.