Union urges local government workers to reject pay offer
Local government workers and school support staff are being urged to reject a pay offer of 2% for most employees this year and a further 2% from next April.
The Unite union is recommending rejection among its members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Unite said that since successive Conservative governments introduced a series of pay freezes and wage restraint policies in 2010 the pay of local government workers has fallen by 21% in real terms.
National officer Jim Kennedy said: "Our members simply do not believe that the offer will result in enough members receiving a pay increase which is at least in line with inflation.
"Unite will now hold a consultative ballot of our members and once that process is complete we will consider our next steps.
"The majority of Unite's local government members are not well paid but provide essential services to communities up and down the UK.
"The government's programme of austerity means that they are simply no longer financially able to keep their heads above water."
He added: "Unite believes that if local government employers are prepared to enter into meaningful negotiations we can reach agreement to resolve our concerns as swiftly and amicably as possible.
"Local government has been decimated by the Conservative's cuts and any pay settlement should be fully funded by central government."
Members of Unison and the GMB are also covered by the offer.
Sian Timoney, who chairs the National Employers Side of the National Joint Council for Local Government, said: "The employers are extremely disappointed that Unite will be advising its members to reject the pay offer.
"The employers have been very clear that the pay offer is a final offer.
"The employers believe that the offer is fair for all staff and includes substantial increases for our lowest paid staff as well as meeting the challenge of the national living wage by introducing a new pay spine in 2019."