NJC Pay Update – August 2023

Our branch secretary has provided the following statement on school and council pay.

Dear colleague,

Firstly, please accept my apologies for the delay in contacting you over NJC pay. We have had extensive issues with our member communications software and are now working on new ways to contact you with updates.

As you are aware, UNISON balloted NJC members from May to July 2023 on whether or not they wanted to undertake strike action over pay. The outcome of this ballot was that the majority of members voted yes to taking strike action (around 75%) but we did not meet the threshold in order to be able to take any legal action. The turnout needed to exceed 50.1% of our membership, but this quota was not met.

Since the closing of the ballot, we have been in discussion with our fellow unions, GMB and Unite, who have also consulted on and balloted members on the offer and can now confirm the following:

  • Unite reported that they now have a mandate for action in 24 places. Of these, some cover full councils and others are just for individual departments within a council. You may have seen a press release from them last week stating that at that point, they had 17 mandates covering less than 3000 members in total. We are aware that in some places Unite have incorporated their Red Book (Craft) members into their Green Book (NJC) ballot, and so the numbers of Green Book members covered by a strike mandate will be smaller.
  • GMB reported that they are still intending to run an industrial action ballot, mostly in schools, from 12th September to late October. The earliest possible date they could take industrial action would be 9th November.
  • UNISON’s exec reported our committee’s clear position that it did not feel we had a mandate to take effective national action that could improve the pay offer, and that it didn’t want to take small, isolated groups of members out on strike on behalf of large groups of members that didn’t meet the threshold. Our position was therefore that members wanted and needed the money in their pockets as soon as possible, and that we wanted to move forward to submitting a claim for 2024 and building on the improved participation this year in an even stronger 2024 pay campaign.

Following a discussion between the unions, agreement has been reached to:

  1. Write to the Employers’ Side to ask for an improved offer; and in the meantime/pending a response;
  2. Convene a meeting of the full Trade Union Side to make a decision on 2023 pay (this meeting will take place online)

Given the above updates, we are unable at present to say when the back payment will be received at this point. As explained, we are in the process of trying to arrange a full TU side meeting, where UNISON has a majority and so could out-vote the other unions.

The process moving forward will be:

  • Set a date for a full trade union side meeting with GMB and Unite;
  • UNISON could then out-vote the other unions and accept the pay offer;
  • Inform the Employers’ Side of the outcome;
  • Notify the relevant employers to process the back pay in the next pay run that they are able to.

We are hopeful that this will be agreed in time for October’s pay packet and once agreed, the back pay would be paid from April 2023 to October 2023, at approximately £1.00 per hour pro-rata. After the back pay, the increase of £1.00 per hour will be added to your pay every month. Please be aware this does not include extra annual leave on an extra day as this was a one off basis for the 2022-23 pay deal.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact Mark Fisher on 07971 255130 or via email: m.fisher@npt.gov.uk

Kind regards,

Mark Fisher
Branch Secretary
UNISON Neath Port Talbot Branch