For the 1.5 million staff working in local authorities and schools, the pay deal agreed at the end of last year means that the next pay anniversary date will be April 2016. Negotiations for 2016 will get under way in just a few months. GMB and the other trade unions believe they are likely to be just as tough as in recent years, so it is vital that we set out our agenda and start campaigning as early as possible.
This is your opportunity to decide the Trade Union claim
The campaign starts with GMB giving you, our members, the chance to say what goes into our claim. For those not familiar with the process, the trade unions agree the items that we are going to ask for (the ‘claim’) and we present this in a formal submission to the national employer negotiators. Before that, GMB takes views on what should go into the claim, which we discuss at a national meeting of senior lay representatives from around the country to decide what to take forward on behalf of GMB members. As well as a pay rise, the sort of items that are usually discussed might be improvements to existing conditions, like holidays, or new ideas, like the Living Wage.
What can we ask for?
The negotiations are national and so the things that can be discussed must be applicable nationally. So, for example, asking for something that would only apply to particular circumstances in a local authority or individual school are not for the national negotiations (but can be taken up locally with your GMB branch). The existing set of national terms and conditions are contained in handbooks, for most staff that will be the ‘Green Book’ which you can find by clicking here
Most importantly, the things you ask for must be what you are prepared to campaign for. The employer negotiators do not give us anything just for asking – we have to back up what we claim with campaigning and that sometimes involves industrial action. For example, I believe that all local government workers deserve a big pay rise but to get one in these days of budget cuts will require a massive campaigning effort from everyone. So as well as what you want we would also like to know how you can help to achieve it.
How to have your say
All of our GMB Regions and officers and branches will be arranging meetings, visits or direct communications to give all GMB members in local authorities and schools the chance to have a say. If for any reason those communications do not reach you, you can still have your say by emailing your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org by 20 April 2015.
I hope that as many GMB members as possible will contribute ideas so that when we hold our meeting to decide what goes forward, towards the end of April, we have a good picture of what you want and what campaigning we can do to achieve it. I will of course let you know the outcome and keep you informed as our campaigning develops.