At the Special Local Government Conference held on 24th March 2015, UNISON agreed to make a claim for a pay rise in 2015. This is despite having agreed a pay deal that was due to run from 1st January 2015 through to April 2016. When this pay agreement was made, many members were very unhappy at the negotiators’ decision to put the employers’ proposal to members given that it was only a proposal and not a proper offer at the time and the proposal did not offer any improvement on the original offer which had clearly been rejected.

At the Conference there was a frank exchange of views about the process with some delegates arguing that in the end the members had decided on acceptance of the offer because they were balloted, while others argued that the ballot return had been very low and that members felt that their union did not have the stomach for a fight over pay in an election year and that members had sensed that so did not see that voting for further action was going to bring about a better offer.

In the end the Conference decided on a card vote that UNISON would submit a pay claim for April 2015 even though the employer is likely to reject it. The conference felt that this would at least demonstrate that the union recognised the fact that local government workers continue to fall behind in terms of maintaining their living standards and will keep local government pay on the political agenda.

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