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Unite holds ‘poverty pay’ strike ballot over 1% offer

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Unite holds ‘poverty pay’ strike ballot over 1% offer

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Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Local Government

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Local government employees have started voting on possible strike action over the "insulting" 1% pay offer. Unite says its members have "endured" four years of pay cuts in real terms. The ballot closes on 30 June, and July 10 has been touted as a possible day of action.

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members. It is seeking a £1 an hour increase in pay for the local council workforce which has 400,000 employees earning below £15,000 a year and a million earning less than £21,000.

Unite won’t be balloting its members in Scotland where the devolved administration has agreed to pay the living wage to all council staff.

The industrial action ballot follows a consultative ballot where members rejected the pay offer for 2014/15 by a 90% margin.

Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: "We are expecting a strong mandate for industrial action which could take place on 10 July. Any industrial action that Unite may take will be coordinated with the other local authority trade unions to achieve maximum impact.

"The aim is to get the employers back around the table to negotiate a fair deal for those who deliver vital local government services ... Poverty pay is widespread across local councils and we are seeking a £1 an hour increase across the board for local government workers."

Unite has about 70,000 members in local government carrying out such jobs as refuse collection, maintenance of council property, traffic enforcement, school support and care services, and grave digging.

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