Local government pay ballot on

A ballot for industrial action on NJC pay will start on 23rd May following members’ overwhelming rejection of the employers’ 1% pay offer. The results of the national consultative ballot were 71% for rejection and 29% for acceptance of the offer. This compares with the Branch’s own consultative ballot of 81:19 in favour of rejection. Members have rejected the constant decline in NJC pay and essential public services being run on goodwill.

The ballot timetable

Once authorised, the postal ballot will be carried out by Electoral Reform Society on behalf of UNISON and will last for 4 weeks, ending on 23 June. Members will be asked if they are prepared to take strike action. If there is a ‘yes’ vote and the industrial action committee gives the green light, industrial action will start in July.

It will be vital that eligible Branch members participate in the ballot to get a high turnout. A ‘yes’ vote to strike action will be essential if we are to move the employers from their position and secure an improved offer.

Who will be balloted?

The ballot will cover members contractually conditioned to the National Joint Council for Local Government Services pay and conditions. This will include some staff in the fire and emergency planning services and national parks, voluntary controlled, voluntary aided, foundation and trust schools. The ballot will cover all staff employed by West Sussex County Council, including HAY-grade managers and youth workers.

Members who have transferred under TUPE from West Sussex County Council will unfortunately not be balloted. This includes Branch members working for Capita who will still benefit from any settlement achieved. This is one of the perverse consequences of outsourcing which trade unions oppose, but the law currently permits. When UNISON sought to ballot Capita members for industrial action over LGPS pensions in 2011, Capita threatened legal action to prevent it. Since then, the Alemo-Herron legal judgment made by the EU Court of Justice has made inclusion of Capita members even more difficult. We will issue advice to Capita members nearer the time on how they can get involved to support the strike without taking industrial action.

Local and European elections

These will be held on 22 May. Help to build up political support for a fair deal for local government and school workers. NJC pay must be the election issue. If politicians come to your door in the next few weeks, make them know that pay is an election issue for you!

GMB and Unite

GMB and Unite are currently consulting their members on the pay offer with recommendations of rejection. Both unions have early May deadlines for responses.

Further communications

The Branch will issue regular communications to members through its website and via email. If you have not yet given the Branch your email address to receive email updates, please email the office now at office.unison@westsussex.gov.uk

The Branch has organised a series of pay briefings for members to take place during the week in the lead up to ballot papers being issued. Find out more about these by visiting our events page.

Become a rep

If your team or department does not have a workplace Rep, now is a great time to become one and get involved. Reps will make a huge difference to how we can communicate with members in the lead up to the ballot, and during strike action if this is held. Find out more at our Become a Rep page or ring the Branch office on 01243 777636.

Recruit more members

Can you help to recruit more of your team mates to UNISON? The more members we have, the more likely we are to win a higher pay award. If new members join quickly, they will be with the union in time to take part in the ballot. Share our Join Us page with your colleagues.