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Council workers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are voting on whether to strike over a below-inflation pay offer that will do nothing to ease their struggle to cope with soaring living costs.


UNISON members should have received their ballot papers by now. Anyone who has not and thinks they should have done can call the UNISONDirect hotline for help.  Call 0845 355 0845, text-phone 0800 0 967 968, from 6am to midnight Monday to Friday and 9pm to 4pm on Saturday - the ballot closes on 20th June.


You may have seen the misleading piece of propaganda posted on the Intranet under the heading “Latest Staff Briefing on the Pay Award”. The main points they ask you to consider before casting your vote in the Industrial Action ballot are reproduced below, along with comments from Malcolm Campbell, Branch Secretary (in italics):


  • The improved offer of 2.45% is a final offer that stretches councils to the limit of their affordability.  It cannot be increased any further.


Factually untrue. At the meeting of the Croydon Staff Partnership Panel on 21st January 2008, attended by Councillors Sara Bashford, and Gavin Barwell, Pam Parkes (Divisional Director, HR & OD) and Robert Laban (Head of HR Consultancy), I asked how much funding had been set aside to meet the 2008 pay rise. The agreed minutes of that meeting confirm that “The Council side had not yet discussed this topic but enough to meet a 2.5% rise had been reserved.”


As 2.5% is more than 2.45%, even what they’ve put aside is an increase on what’s offered. The response also seems to indicate that there’s a possibility for them to put aside more. In any case, the assertion that no more can be afforded has been made in the past but then determined action has led to increased offers.

  • Not all trade unions will be taking part in the industrial action.


In what way does this alter the justness of our cause? To be quite frank, the stance taken by the national leadership of a trade union has an enormous effect on the way people vote. Dave Prentis has quite rightly thrown his weight behind a call for strike action, leaders in the GMB didn’t do so – that’s why their members voted to accept the offer. I think they were wrong to do so.

  • If the vote is in favour of industrial action you are likely to be asked to go on strike, in the first instance, for two consecutive days. This means the loss of two days’ pay and for those in the pension scheme, the loss of two days’ pensionable service.  A strike will not lead to any change in the employers’ position.


The history of strikes in pursuit of pay awards shows that the employers do change their position in the face of concerted action. The last two strikes for pay were in 1989 and 2002. On both occasions we received a better offer. A calculation of how much these increases were worth over the years shows that it’s very worthwhile taking the action.


As for the loss of pensionable pay, I wonder if they’ve worked out how much that really represents. I suspect not, otherwise they wouldn’t be making the point.


Your pension is worked out on the basis of one sixtieth of your final salary times your length of service. So if you retire after 20 years of service, the two days of strike action will reduce your pension by 20 x 1/60 x 2/365  = 2/1095 of your final salary. If you earn £20,000 p.a. when you retire, you’ll lose £36 per year from your pension.


Now if, for instance, the strike action secured an offer of 3% (an increase of 0.55% on what is currently offered), then someone on £20,000 per year would benefit by £110 per year. If they retired with 20 years service, that extra £110 per year is worth 20 x 1/60 x £110 in their pension, which funnily enough works out as £36 per year!


Someone who had 10 years service and earned £20,000 per year would lose £18 per year by taking the action and gain £18 per year by an increase of 0.55%. 


Of course, if the extra we gained by strike action was less than 0.55%, there would be a very small loss to people, but this would be more than compensated for by the extra pay year on year before retirement.


  • Voting “NO” in the strike ballot will encourage a quick settlement of the pay award.


What would members like – 2.45% now or more in a few months’ time? In any case I think it’s incredibly hypocritical of the organisation to talk about “a quick settlement of the pay award” – some people still haven’t received last year’s pay award, which was settled over 7 months ago!


All in all, their reasoning is pretty poor, don’t you think?


We urge you to vote in favour of taking industrial action in pursuit of a decent pay rise.


The employers “final” offer is 2.45% (the speech marks are there because they’ll come up with more if we make a determined stand).


This is less than the Government’s preferred measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is currently 3%.  It lags even further behind the Retail Price Index (RPI), which is a much truer reflection of the rise in the cost of living.  Unlike the CPI, it includes the cost of housing and council tax and currently stands at 4.2%.


So what our employers are offering is a pay cut – the cost of things we buy will rise more than the amount of money in our pocket does.


And it’s not just this year.  We’ve lost ground year after year compared with workers in the private sector.  The employers also want to tie us into a deal for the next two years by the end of this year.


We need to send out a message to our employers and the Government that we’re prepared to fight – otherwise they’ll tread all over us again and again.  As far as they’re concerned, our standard of living is expendable, on the basis that keeping our wages down controls inflation.  This is, of course, nonsense – everyone is now aware that it’s the rise in the price of fuel and food that has had the biggest effect.  If it were the rise in wages that caused inflation, we’ be paying for other people’s wage increases.  As it is we’re asked to take a pay cut because things are more expensive – how logical or fair it that?


Members should also be aware that accepting this derisory offer would give the green light to our employers for future pay rises.  They have stated that they aim to reach agreement on the 2009 and 2010 pay awards by 31st December 2008.  Clearly they’ll seek an increase for the next two years in line with this year’s.  Accept a pay cut this year and we’ll be facing pay cuts for the next two years as well! 


Finally the employers also want to review our National Agreements as set out in The Green Book.  You can rest assured that they won’t be looking to improve our Terms and Conditions!  Showing that we’re prepared to take industrial action over the pay offer would clearly make them think carefully about whether they could risk further attacks on us. 






For our latest update and details of the Appeals Procedure please click here.




We now have a supply of these very useful booklets available from the Branch Office. 


This 168-paged booklet sets out the rights, responsibilities and duty of care for Support Staff in Schools. 


Some of the issues covered in the booklet include School Matters, Employment, Health, Safety, Welfare and Security and a mine of other useful information.


A must for all Support Staff in Schools.


If you would like a copy please contact Karen on 020 8760 5435. 





The Government Regulations on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) can be found on the Pension Update Page

You can also log-on to the UNISON National Website www.unison.co.uk for more information on Pensions. 




The Car Allowance rates for 2008-9 have just recently been announced. 


The new rates are as follows:






















Lump Sum per annum












Per mile first 8,500












Per mile after 8,500































Per mile first 8,500












Per mile after 8,500












Petrol Element per mile (for both categories)








The petrol element of the allowance formula is based on a price of 103.52p per litre (470.6p per gallon) for unleaded petrol, based on actual pump prices in the first two weeks of January (as surveyed by the AA on behalf of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders).


On 8th April a request was made to the Employers to review the petrol element of the formula given the increase of petrol prices, but they weren’t prepared to do so.


The new rates are effective from April 2008.




Some 3,000 delegates and visitors will be gathering at UNISON’s National Conference in Bournemouth, to set the union’s agenda for the next year.  The National Delegate Conference takes place from 16th to 20th June and is the union’s supreme policy making body.


Our delegation this year is Malcolm Campbell, Mervyn D’Cruze, Isa Makumbi, Caroline Kaiser, Kay Kakad and Rachel Pankhurst.


There will be plenty of issues to debate - including Pay, Pensions and protecting the future of our Public Services.









A special Quiz presented by Mr Wally Ross-Gower


7:45pm start

Maximum 4 per Team (£10 per team)

At Ruskin House, Coombe Road, Croydon


Prize raffle on the night – contributions welcome!



Please note that we intend recommencing regular monthly Croydon UNISON Social Club quizzes at Ruskin House this summer




Friday 18th July 2008 - Sunday 20th July inclusive


Trade unions commemorate the Tolpuddle Martyrs every year in July. Rallies – held in Tolpuddle since Victorian times – have evolved into a weekend-long music and arts festival attended by families and young people as well as union stalwarts.

“Although we still cover the serious issues and trade union campaigns, we’ve created an environment where people can come and have a great time together with friends and comrades, and have a nice summer's day out, whatever their music tastes or political outlook,” says festival organiser Nigel Costley of the South West regional TUC.

UNISON is one of the official sponsors of the event.

Get the programme - Download this document as an Adobe PDF file






The Branch has recently held two very successful Mortgage & Savings Days with Britannia Building Society, where Britannia’s advisers have helped our members save money. 


We hope to hold further days in the future but in the meantime you can download a PDF Voucher worth £5.00 which you can use to open a UNISON ISA account. 


If you require further details please get in touch with our Branch Contact Emma Thompson on 07790793286 or via email to emma.thompson@britannia.co.uk




Don’t forget to check out the deals at UNISON’s Holiday Village in Croyde Bay.  Visit the website for all the latest offers www.croydeunison.co.uk.



We are always looking for more members to get actively involved in the Branch. There are many areas where members don't have a local Steward.

So - if you would like to get more involved in the Branch and its decision making, take part in negotiations with management and represent members, why not become a Steward or Health and Safety Rep?

We won't throw you in at the deep end. There are many courses available that are organised through the TUC or UNISON and they run throughout the year. You will also have the support of the Branch Office. Time off for full training is available, please contact the Branch Office for more details or e-mail branchoffice@croydonunison.co.uk


Please let us know in the Branch Office if you have changed your address, either by phone on 8760-5435 or via e-mail to branchoffice@croydonunison.co.uk it’s important we keep your records up to date so that you are fully informed on matters that could affect you.

If you are prepared to be a workplace contact for us, which involves handing out UNISON information, Newsletters etc to your fellow UNISON members again please let us know in the Branch Office.

We want to make sure all our members are informed on what's happening in the Branch.