UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Unity of NJC Unions in LGPS campaign augurs well for Pay battles ahead

This week’s resounding YES vote in GMB, Unite and UNISON signifies more than a consensus across the local government workforce in England and Wales that the new LGPS represents a positive outcome to a hard fought industrial and political campaign:

Since the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission (Hutton review) was launched by the newly elected Con Dem Government back in June 2010, the local government unions mounted an effective joint campaign.

As well as delivering solid strike action on 30 November 2011, the April 2012 contribution increases demanded by the Treasury were avoided and tripartite negotiations with the LGA and the DCG led to the new LGPS 2014 endorsed by scheme members this week – uniquely of the four public sector pension schemes, over 90% of LGPS scheme members will not pay increased contributions.

Attention now turns to pay.

The minimal demands made to local employers in March 2012 - following the LGA’s rejection of arbitration - has led to a few isolated concessions of the £250 payment to workers earning under £21k per annum. But the general experience of pay being held down since 2009 in a period of rising cost of living is not tenable and has led to tens of thousands of local government workers being at a financial breaking point.

Building on the unity which led to an effective outcome in the LGPS campaign, the NJC unions must urgently agree a strategy to defeat the three year long pay freeze in local government.