NJC pay offer

UNISON received a response to our pay claim in December from the local government employers (LGE).

The offer is for a two-year pay deal starting 1 April 2018.

It’s a much more complicated deal than offered in previous years, because there is a need to address the impact of rises in the government’s ‘national living wage’ (NLW) on the NJC pay spine.

LGE have weighted pay increases to be proportionately higher at the lowest end of the pay scale to help keep ahead of the rising national living wage (NLW).

For workers such as teaching assistants and support workers employed on WSCC Grades 3 to 5, there would be increases of between 7.5% and 3.7% in year 1.

For staff at the bottom of grade 6 through to the top of the NJC scale, the offer is for a 2% pay rise in year 1.

In year 2, LGE are proposing a restructure of NJC grades and the spinal points on the NJC scale. This is to try to maintain pay differentials and improve equity between spinal points as the effect of the NLW impacts upwards through the pay scales.

If accepted, this would create the complicated task of layering the proposed national NJC pay spine over the County Council’s existing grades. Branch secretary Dan Sartin will also be discussing proposals with WSCC to assess the logistics of how it could be applied.

In year 2, new spinal points are proposed up to the middle of the current WSCC Grade 8.  Members will have to view these spinal points to work out the impact of the proposed pay rise on them in year 2, though as yet the discussion with WSCC on how to implement the pay award has not taken place so it is not yet clear which spinal point would apply. Members are advised to exercise caution when interpreting the offer, and to wait for the UNISON pay consultation before coming to a view.

Above a new spinal point 23 (currently the middle of grade 8), a 2% increase would be awarded to all NJC grades in year 2.

Whilst on the one hand the offer is serious and worth a close examination, there are dangers of locking members into a 2-year deal with the uncertainties of Brexit and the potential impact this might have on inflation. For many members, the offer is also less than the current rate of inflation.

A consultation on the offer will commence in January.

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