Support for lower paid to feature in state and municipal negotiations


Negotiations over pay are getting underway in the state and local government sectors with unions seeking to protect their members’ purchasing power and focusing on support for the lower paid. While unions agree that the system where the industrial sector sets the trend for pay bargaining is the right one, negotiations in the public sector need to address how pay trends have affected different occupations. This means there are arguments for a flat-rate increase that will benefit the lower paid, including the often undervalued groups like cleaners who have played a key role in coping with the pandemic. More generally, the unions also argue that the negotiations have to address the fact that many of their members have seen working time and overtime increase to maintain services during the pandemic, while those switching to telework have seen a blurring of the separation between work and leisure time.

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