Council and school staff in Wakefield reject 'unfair' 1.75 per cent pay offer from Local Government Association

Council and school staff in Wakefield have rejected a proposed 1.75 per cent pay rise, according to trade union representatives.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 9:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 9:56 am
County Hall in Wakefield

UNISON' s local district branch tweeted on Friday that more than 80 per cent of its members had voted to reject the nationwide offer, which has been put forward by the Local Government Association (LGA).

The union also said their members had indicated they wanted to be balloted over possible strike action.

UNISON represents around 9,000 public sector staff across Wakefield, including council employees, non-teaching workers in schools and people in the NHS.

NHS staff are subject to different pay scales however, and the 1.75 per cent offer only applies to the council and school employees beneath senior level.

A spokesperson for UNISON's local branch said: "We feel our members deserve a decent pay rise after 18 months of Covid, where they've put their lives at risk and worked through really challenging conditions.

"The 1.75 per cent pay offer is unfair and there needs to be some recognition of what our members have had to put up with, both during Covid and through 11 years of austerity."

UNISON says that numerous pay freezes since 2010, coupled with inflation, has seen pay for local government staff cut by around 20 per cent in real terms.

They and other unions have also expressed concerns that the government will not be funding the proposed pay rise, leaving short-changed councils to pick up the bill.

The LGA indeed, in tabling the proposal, have said that 1.75 per cent is their "final" offer, because it's the "limit" of what most councils can afford.

They had previously offered a 1.5 per cent increase, which was rejected in May.

Whether or not staff in Wakefield go on strike would depend on the outcome of ballots among UNISON members across the country.

Wakefield Council is not involved in the negotiations, because they are being conducted at a national level.

Local Democracy Reporting Service