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Local Government - Pay farce continues


The farce around the 2008 pay round in local government continues as the terms of reference for referring the dispute to ACAS, previously agreed between the trade union and employer sides, have now been overturned.

The employers are reneging on the agreement on the grounds of the economic crisis and losses they have suffered by speculating in Icelandic banks. The proposed new terms of reference include a reference to “affordability” and changing economic circumstances since April 2008. Even ACAS is scratching its head as to whether arbitration can be entered into if the terms of reference are so biased towards one party.

So the unions have accepted payment on account, placed all their hopes in the ACAS ship of state, just to see it holed before negotiations have even commenced. The 2008 pay campaign is looking very threadbare. Plans to lodge the 2009 claim and to follow up with a rapid ballot for industrial action, must have the employers shaking in their boots – with laughter.