National Joint Council Local Government Claim 2018/19

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Three unions, including GMB, representing more than 1.6 million local government employees in schools and councils across England, Wales and Northern Ireland have submitted a pay claim that attempts to narrow the growing gap between declining wages and the rising cost of living.

The claim for the year from next April seeks to move the lowest paid staff onto the real living wage of £8.45 an hour (£9.75 in London).

In addition the unions want all employees to receive a five per cent pay rise.

The claim follows eight years of government-imposed pay restraint, which has seen wages either frozen or held to a one per cent increase.

GMB, Unison and Unite say that school and council employees’ living standards have plummeted as their wages have fallen way behind inflation.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said: “Local government workers are suffering the worst squeeze on their pay in living memory, contributing to a public sector recruitment and retention crisis that is undermining the quality of services for everyone.

“Enough is enough. Our vital and under-appreciated staff must get a pay rise of at least five per cent to compensate for almost a decade of real-terms wage cuts. That is what they need and deserve.

“Last week’s election result was a clear vote for a new approach and against the running down of public services. It’s time for local government employers and Theresa May to listen.”

Full details of the pay claim are available for download below:

Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to editors:
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there were 2.15m local government workers in December 2016, down from 2.91m in June 2010.

GMB, Unison and Unite lodged the claim today (Wednesday) with the National Joint Council that represents local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Women make up almost four-fifths (78 per cent) of the workforce, and tend to be on the very lowest pay scales.