Local authority staff to vote on strike action

Members of the Unite union which includes more than 2,000 grounds care, parks and arboriculture staff among its 70,000 membership, are to vote on industrial action after rejecting a one per cent pay offer.

The union will ballot in June after members voted to reject the pay offer for 2014/15 by a 90 per cent margin. Other unions including Unison and GMB have also decided to ballot members.

The pay offer affects council employees who earn more than £14,880 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland only. Those who earn less are being offered a bigger rise to ensure they are paid the minimum wage.

Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: "Local government staff have been the whipping boys for the coalition’s austerity policies for the last four years, and, as a consequence, services used by some of the most vulnerable in society have been viciously pruned back.

"Our members have been experiencing a continuous pay cut in real terms, given that the current RPI rate of inflation is running at 2.5 per cent. Take home pay has been reduced by almost 20 per cent since the coalition came to power.

"Poverty pay is becoming endemic across local councils and we are seeking a £1 an hour increase across the board for local government workers."

She added that Unite would coordinate its ballot dates and any future industrial action with the other local government trade unions.


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