Harrogate UNISON ballots on pay offer with industrial action a 'real possibility'

UNISON at Harrogate Borough Council is balloting its members at Harrogate Council, Brimham’s Active and Ripon City Council as part of the union's consultation exercise.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 2:21 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 2:22 pm
UNISON Harrogate's Branch Secretary, Dave Houlgate.
UNISON Harrogate's Branch Secretary, Dave Houlgate.

The UK’s biggest Trade Union, UNISON, has commenced a consultative ballot with its members who work in Local Government and schools, on whether to accept or reject what it considers a derisory pay offer made by employers to Council and school staff.

UNISON Harrogate's Branch Secretary, Dave Houlgate said: “Council and school workers have been offered a 1.75% pay rise with those on the very lowest pay point being offered 2.75%. In addition, the employers are offering discussions on joint guidance on homeworking and mental health and the incorporation of statutory provisions on neo-natal leave and pay.”

“This is yet another derisory offer which will only compound the local Government recruitment and retention crisis and increase the demand for in-work benefit support.

"The fact is that with inflation at 3.8% this is another real terms pay cut and comes on the back of local government pay having fallen by a quarter since 2010. That’s 25%. This is a shocking way to treat staff who went above and beyond during the pandemic, kept communities safe, supported businesses, cared for the most vulnerable and ensured schools remained open throughout successive lockdowns.”

“Local government workers are mostly women, and are amongst the lowest paid in the country. It’s time they and the services they provide was properly recognized. Pat’s on the back and the occasional well done don’t pay bills or feed families.”

UNISON is strongly recommending that it’s members vote to reject the offer and if that happens then the next step would be to initiate a ballot of members for industrial action.

“No one wants to take industrial action but sometimes it does become necessary and that may be the case this time.”

The consultation ballot ends on September 24.