UNISON Votes On Pay Proposals
The UNISON NJC Committee has considered the results of the branch consultation on the Local Government Association’s pay proposals for 2014-16. A decisive majority, 64.35% of members, voted to accept the pay proposals on a 19.77% turnout. GMB and UNITE members also voted overwhelmingly to accept the pay proposals.
At the same time as UNISON, GMB and Unite have been consulting our members, the LGA has been seeking the approval of councils to turn the pay proposals into an offer. Their consultation also concluded today and the LGA has confirmed that the pay proposals are now a formal offer.
As a result, the employers have been asked to implement the offer as soon as possible.
While accepting the offer, UNISON has made it clear to the LGA that it falls far below the aspirations in the 2014-15 pay claim and what you - our members - deserve. It is a further pay cut for members providing vital local services, struggling to make ends meet in the face of massive job cuts and attacks to their terms and conditions. We also stressed the urgent necessity to strengthen collective bargaining in local government and schools and called on the Local Government Association to move quickly with us to tackle the many serious issues facing our members.
The vote in the Birmingham Branch consultative ballot was actually to reject the proposals –
Here are the results of the postal ballot.
UNISON Birmingham Pay Proposal Consultative Ballot
Total sent 11564
Total returns 1391 12%
ACCEPT 401 28.8%
REJECT 987 71.0%
SPOILED 3 0.2%
The Branch is pleased with the proportion of votes to reject the pay proposals but we are disappointed with the turnout.
For our own industrial action ballots in 2008 (Single Status Contract) and 2011 (Allowances Dispute), we were getting 25-30% turnout, and this was not as high as we would have wanted it either.
There might be many reasons why the turnout was low. The ballot period was short, the proposals were complex for many members and it is possible that there was a sense of an inevitable withdrawal nationally from the pay dispute. We do usually find that when strike action takes place, a higher proportion of our members than actually voted do support the action. So ballots are an indicator of wider levels of support.
But we do recognise that we need to convince more of our members to take part in such cunsultation exercises. That's a major organisatio0nal challenge.
Nevertheless, the branch vote indicates that there is substantial support within the branch for continuing to fight on pay. Unfortunately this was not mirrored nationally, so we should consider how we can build on that level of support and see whether our members would want to take more collective action over the next round of job and service cuts.
There will be a good opportunity to take these issues forward at the next Branch Committee meeting on Wednesday 26 November in the Council House Council Chamber. All stewards and officers are invited to this meeting.