UNISON NJC (national joint committee) reps met in the summer to consider feedback on its recommendation for the 2020/21 NJC pay claim.
The committee had consulted members via branches on the following proposal:
- 10% pay rise or £10 per hour minimum hourly rate on all pay points, whichever is greater;
- an extra day’s annual leave;
- a two-hour reduction in the standard working week; and
- a comprehensive joint national review of the workplace causes of stress and mental health throughout local authorities.
There was 94% support for the committee’s recommendation (81% in West Sussex), so it was taken forward by UNISON.
Is the claim affordable?
Councils have suffered cuts of nearly 50% since 2010. Funding for this pay rise must come from central government and it must be new money. The claim must not be funded through councils further cutting employees’ conditions of employment.
The government says there is no magic money tree and yet they have found:
- approximately £4.2bn to spend on no-deal Brexit preparations since 2016 (£1.5bn of it in the 2018-19 tax year alone);
- approximately £1bn of new funding for Northern Ireland because of the government’s supply and confidence arrangement with the DUP;
- PM Johnson has already pledged tax cuts for those earning over £80,000 a year plus changes to national insurance and stamp duty – costing approximately £23bn;
- he’s also pledged to increase spending on education and policing costing over £2bn (though this would only go some way to reversing government cuts made over the last decade).
Clearly there is money available, but it is a political choice made by the government on how and where to spend it.
Thanks go to members in the West Sussex branch who completed our pay consultation survey on the claim. These are early days for the claim, but we’ll keep members up to date with progress on negotiations.