GMB members to join strike over council pay

27 Jun 14
Local government members of the GMB union are to strike on July 10, joining Unison workers in a day of action over pay.

The GMB announced today that a ballot of members saw a 73% vote in favour of going on strike after the Local Government Association’s offer of a 1% pay increase for most workers was rejected.

Brian Strutton, the union’s national secretary for public services said his members had spoken and wanted to take action.

He added: ‘We have tried sensible discussions, we've sought to negotiate reasonably, we've said we are willing to accept Acas arbitration rather than go on strike ­­­­– but to everything we've tried the employers have said "no". So we have no choice.

‘GMB members serving school meals, cleaning streets, emptying bins, looking after the elderly, helping children in classrooms and in all the other vital roles serving our communities are fed up with being ignored and undervalued. ‘Their pay has gone up only 1% since 2010 and in October even the national minimum wage will overtake local authority pay scales. Their case is reasonable, the employers won't listen and don't care, no wonder they have turned to strike action as the only way of making their voices heard.’

Strutton said the strike could be the second biggest ever, with more than 2 million workers taking action. Unison has already confirmed that its members will strike on the same day, while the Unite union is also balloting for action. The National Union of Teachers has also said its members will strike.

Responding to the announcement, a Local Government Association spokesman said it was disappointing that GMB would be proceeding with strike action.

‘Local government staff have worked wonders while councils have been tackling the biggest funding cuts in living memory and we have no doubt that many will still be at work on the day of strike action,’ he said.

‘The pay offer we have made would increase the pay of most employees by 1%, while the lowest paid would receive an increase of more than 4%. This is the fairest possible deal for our employees given the limits of what we can afford. This strike will not change the pay offer we have made, but it will mean those who take part lose a day’s pay.’


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