The strike action taking place today will not change the terms of a pay proposal, which offers council workers the ‘best possible’ deal in such a challenging economic climate.
Steve Thomas CBE, Welsh Local Government Association CEO said:
“The pay offer that has been made would increase the pay of most employees by one per cent, while the lowest paid would receive an increase of more than four per cent. This is the ‘best possible’ deal for our employees given the limits of what we can afford in the current climate, and it is a full and final offer.
“Today’s strike action will achieve little in altering what is now a painful new financial reality for local councils in Wales, and the parlous condition of local government finances precludes any re-examination of this proposal. The Minister for Local Government, Lesley Griffiths AM last year wrote to inform councils that the funding reductions experienced by local government in England signal the future financial reality for us in Wales, and more recently councils have been instructed to scenario plan for further budget reductions of up to minus 4.5%. This means further deep cuts will follow.
“As local government employers we have complete sympathy with the general frustration of the trade unions. Austerity has had a huge impact on many local government employees, as has the continued sense of insecurity that has been created by ongoing speculation around future local government reform. Local government workers continue to respond admirably at a time when councils are tackling the biggest funding cuts in living memory, and we have no doubt that many of these employees will still be at work today.
“With Local Government Association figures showing that only 5.7% of the total local government workforce of 1,500,140 across England and Wales voted for strike action, it is difficult to predict overall strike turnout. While all councils have contingency plans in place there will be inevitably be disruption, not least within the schools sector. The public are advised to check their local council’s website for details of any school, facility or service closures as these will be updated throughout the day.”