Belfast Telegraph

Council workers accept pay deal

Council workers have voted to accept an improved pay offer, averting the prospect of further strikes, unions have announced.

Members of Unison, Unite and the GMB backed a two year deal worth an average of 2.35%, having rejected an earlier 1% offer.

The workers went on strike in July and had planned another walkout last month before the improved deal was made by the Local Government Association.

The dispute involved 1.5 million council workers and school support staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Unison's head of local government, Heather Wakefield, said: "Members covered by the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government have the lowest pay in the public sector and have suffered significant attacks on their conditions of work in recent years.

"We will continue to campaign for the Living Wage to become the minimum rate of pay in local government and for a commensurate increase for all other NJC employees, to reflect the invaluable work that our members do to keep vital local services running."

GMB national officer Brian Strutton said: "Around 1.5 million council workers and school staff have taken a pragmatic decision to accept a two-year deal which is worth around 2.35% on average and up to 9.6% for the lowest paid.

"That puts the 2014 pay dispute to bed but there are still serious financial challenges ahead for local government services and our members who provide them."

Unite national officer, Fiona Farmer, said: "Following a long campaign on pay, Unite members have voted overwhelmingly to accept the two year proposal."

An LGA spokesman said: "After a protracted dispute, we are pleased that an agreement with the unions has now been reached.

"Our hard-working employees, who have worked wonders while councils have been tackling the biggest cuts in living memory, have been waiting since April for an agreement. Today's breakthrough is good news for them."

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