Future of national pay bargaining put into question

3 Jun 99
The future of national pay bargaining for 1.6 million local government workers is up for grabs, following the launch of a three-month consultation by the Employers' Organisation.

04 June 1999

Their document, The Employers' Strategy, sets out key questions facing negotiators in the coming years. It follows Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech to the TUC last week, where he described the annual pay round as 'a meaningless ritual'.

The end result should be an improved employment agenda for local government, with councils expected to come up with a modernised but effective system.

However, local authorities are highly unlikely to reject the national bargaining machinery, according to Paul Marwood, the Employers' 'single status' agreement head. Instead, the new framework is expected to be brought up-to-date to allow for changes in the workforce and the world of work.

Marwood said: 'People generally feel comfortable with the national machinery and it has evolved over the past few years, becoming looser and allowing more flexibility at local level. I cannot imagine that councils would want to end that.'

Similarly, councils are not expected to embrace two- and three-year wage settlements, preferring the flexibility of the annual pay round, according to Marwood.


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