Following full membership consultation by GMB, and similar exercises by Unison and Unite, there is a different position among the national trade unions over the two-year pay deal that came about from national negotiations.
GMB members, in a full secret postal ballot, voted by 9-1 on an above average turnout to accept the deal. Unison and Unite, following branch consultations, have both rejected the deal, in Unison’s case by 3-2 on a low turnout. This was discussed at a joint trade unions meeting today and a common position could not be reached.
GMB is clear. Our members voted clearly to accept the two-year deal and to get it into pay packets as soon as possible. (Over 2 years the deal is worth 2.4% on the paybill – a 1% increase for most people in 2016 and again in 2017 and between 2.41% and 10% for the lowest paid).
What Unison and Unite seem to be saying is that they would now be prepared instead to accept half the two-year deal, ie the first year of it only. For GMB, we cannot and will not go against the wishes of you our members, whatever other unions might want us to do. But the result is a trade union stalemate.
What will happen next is Unison and Unite will break ranks and offer the Employers half the two-year deal. As far as GMB knows there is no membership mandate for them to do this and there is no guarantee that the employers will respond positively.
The real issue is that in the meantime everyone’s pay rise is being delayed and some very good increases for the lowest paid are sitting in the Employers’ pocket rather than our members’.
I’m sorry to report such a confused state of affairs. There may be further news with some more meetings planned in early April and I will inform you about those.
National Officer – Public Services Section