The three main unions representing municipal workers – Unison, Unite and GMB – have put in a pay claim for an increase of at least 10% from this April. They say this will begin to redress a decade of cuts and recognise the key role played in the pandemic by school and council staff. The negotiations cover staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the claim aims to bring the lowest paid workers above £10 (EUR 11.50) per hour. This would put them above the real “living wage” of £9.50 (EUR 10.90) per hour (outside London). The unions calculate that staff working in local government have seen up to 25% wiped from the value of their pay.
Local government unions call for substantial pay increase
More like this
The monthly and hourly minimum wage rates are set to rise by just over 9%, taking the monthly amount to EUR 607 and the hourly rate to EUR 3.72. The minimum wage is discussed in a tripartite council which takes into account a number of factors but the increases are also linked to specific targets - since 2017 it was stipulated that the ratio of the minimum wage to the average wage should be kept between 45% and 50%. It is also linked to trends in minimum and average wages across the European Union.
The FOA public services union has called on the government to recognise the need for multi-billion kronor funding to make a real difference to pay in jobs dominated by women. The union points out that the last time that an attempt was made to tackle the problem was in the 2007 three-year agreement but in the end the extra funding to close the pay gap was spread too thinly across the public sector. The FOA wants to see extra funding earmarked for low paid jobs dominated by women and also changes to equality legislation.
The YS group of unions is looking for substantial real wage growth in this year's negotiations on pay. Its recent conference on wages highlighted the fact that while wages increased on average by 2.8% in 2018, this marked only a small increase in real terms as prices rose by 2.7%. In fact the union points out that on average wages in real terms are no different from five years ago and so with unemployment falling and a relatively positive outlook it is time for trade unions to push for higher wage growth.