Reject the pay proposal!
An appeal to all members of GMB, UNISON and UNITE….Reject the pay proposal! Restart the industrial action to win fair pay!
The following is the text of the Issue 20 of The Cov Council Socialist – a bulletin produced by and for local authority workers in Coventry
By a union steward at Coventry City Council
Tuesday 14th October should have seen over 1 million council workers take industrial action in the campaign to win a fair pay deal. This was due to be part of a 3 day programme of industrial action, with colleagues in the NHS taking action on the Monday, UCU members in Further Education (UCU also stopped their strike) as well council workers on Tuesday and PCS in the Civil Service on Wednesday.
Just a few days before our action started, the leaderships of GMB, UNISON and UN ITE agreed to suspend the action because the Labour controlled Local Government Association (LGA), our employers, had made a new proposal.
The new ‘offer’ is an ‘indecent proposal’
We believe that to suspend the action was a mistake for a number of reasons. The proposal does not go anywhere near solving the chronic problem of low pay in local government. Years of real term pay cuts have seen us get worse and worse off. The proposal is still not a formal offer, and they want to give us 2.2 per cent over two years. This actually leaves us worse off this pay year (2014-15) than the “derisory” 1% offer from the employer we took action over in July and costs the employer less. In January 2015, 2.2% will be added to all pay spines to last until 31 March 2016. It’s a cunningly presented two year response to a one year pay claim attempt to buy off and shut up low paid council workers in the run up to a general election.
A 2 year deal designed to avoid any pay disputes in the first year of a potential Labour government? Pay cuts hurt whether they are from a Tory or Labour government / LGA!
It would be a big mistake for us to accept a 2 year pay deal, particularly one that is so sub-standard. The proposal appears to want to put the issue of pay well and truly off the agenda until 2016. The rate of inflation could easily go up, but our pay would be stuck. This means we would continue to experience a fall in our standard of living, and keep things ‘nice and quiet’ for Ed Miliband in the first year of a Labour government. This is wrong firstly because it is by no means certain Labour will get elected, and secondly they have already stated they will be signing up Tory spending plans. Union members need to come before the interests of a Labour Party which supports Tory austerity. Once again this shows the need for the unions to break the link with Labour.
Reject the proposal and restart the action
We all know that although the strike on 10th July was about pay, in reality it was also about the attacks on our jobs, terms and condition and the defence of public services. It is always a difficult decision to strike however we were left with no alternative and in most areas the strike was well supported. Preparations had been made for 14th October and by suspending the strike the union leaderships have shown weakness and we risk losing momentum and the chance of co-ordinated action with other public sector unions.
Socialists in the council unions will be campaigning for the maximum possible rejection of the proposal and for the restarting of the action. Linked to this, we need to campaign to transform our unions in to democratic, combative organisations that are prepared to lead a concerted and bold fight against pay cuts and austerity.
If you agree with the above, we urge you to get in contact with us to help campaign to get the proposal rejected and to help build the voice of socialism in the unions. Please fill in the form below