Council Workers Given ‘Final Offer’

(Press Association) – EMPLOYERS HAVE MADE a ‘final’ pay offer to 1.6 million council workers in a bid to break deadlocked talks.

The new offer is for a 1.25% rise for the lowest paid workers who earn up to £13,700, and 1% for other employees, with the deal covering librarians, social workers, refuse collectors, care staff and other local authority staff across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Employers had offered a rise of 0.5%, which was strongly criticised by unions, who argued that councils across the country had budgeted for a bigger rise.

Unison’s head of local government, Heather Wakefield, said: ‘We are pleased that the local government employers have come forward with an improved pay offer. While we believe that our members are worth more, we are pleased that the employers have realised that 0.5% was an insult.

‘It is also vital that we have an agreement in place to protect jobs in the sector. This will help keep services running through the recession, when families and communities need them most.’

Sir Steve Bullock of the LGA said: ‘The perfect storm of reduced income and increasing demands for services, combined with the low inflation rate has meant that employers have to make some tough decisions on pay and spending.

‘Since councils set their budgets for this year the recession has meant the money available for pay has been squeezed and for many councils this improved offer will have to be paid for by savings.

‘We have worked hard to help staff who deliver efficient public services to local people while ensuring that council spending does not rise above what is acceptable to local people. We hope that the trade unions will accept this final offer.

‘However no-one should be in any doubt that the employers will withdraw the offer and bring the negotiations to an end if it is rejected.’

Union leaders will meet next week to discuss the new offer.

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