Northampton council staff ‘countdown to ballot for strike action’

Local government workers have rejected their employers one per cent pay offer, which may see some Northampton Borough Council workers go on strike.

Unison said today 70 per cent of members rejected this year’s pay offer in a recent consultation.

The pay offer comes on the back of three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by a below-inflation rise in 2013, leaving councils and schools staff pay reduced by almost 20 per cent since the Coalition government came to power.

UNISON’s local government industrial action ballot will start on 23 May lasting four weeks and ending on 23 June.

Members will be asked if they are prepared to take strike action. If there is a ‘Yes’ vote and the union’s industrial action committee gives the green light, industrial action from Unison members at Northampton’s councils could start in July.

Tonia Williams, UNISON regional organiser said: “Our members have told us they are finding it tough to make ends meet. Members have used their savings, borrowed on credit cards, pay day loans and from family and friends to make up the shortfall in their pay packets.

“This is not for luxuries, just the basics.

“Our members have to make tough choices between heating their homes, feeding their families, clothing their kids and keeping a roof above their heads. Our local government members are working hard to maintain the local services we all rely on. They deserve better.”

The ballot will cover UNISON members whose pay, terms and conditions are tied to the National Joint Council [NJC] for Local Government Services.

This will include some staff in the fire and emergency planning services and national parks, as well as voluntary controlled, voluntary aided, foundation and trust schools.

However, the ballot will cover staff employed by councils covered by the NJC.

Northamptonshire County Council, which employs most of the above roles in the county, and Daventry District Council staff are not on NJC terms and pay is locally negotiated with UNISON, and these staff will not be balloted as part of the national pay dispute.