School support staff employed by councils offered £2k pay deal

Increase is worth 9.42 per cent for the lowest-paid

Increase is worth 9.42 per cent for the lowest-paid

School support staff employed by councils have been offered a pay rise of almost £2,000.

The across-the-board offer of at least £1,925 from the National Employers for local government service, which sets pay for around 1.4 million workers, is worth 9.42 per cent for the lowest-paid, and 3.88 per cent for those above the top of the pay spine.

The deal, if accepted by unions, would come into effect from April this year. It is similar to an offer agreed last summer, and backdated to April 2022.

The hike would affect not only maintained school staff and wider local government workforces, but also employees at many academy trusts – which are not involved in negotiations but typically honour the deals.

Local authority chiefs called it a “full and final offer” to recognised unions Unison, GMB and Unite, notably made five months earlier than last year’s offer.

Sian Goding, chair of the National Employers, said under the deal the lowest-paid, currently earning £20,441, would see their pay rise by £4,033, or 22 per cent, versus April 2021.

The increase in councils’ pay bill as a result of the offer would be £1.09 billion, a rise of 6.42 per cent. But employers have warned in correspondence “jobs and services will be at risk” without additional central government funding.

Goding said the organisation was “acutely aware of the additional pressure this year’s offer will place on already hard-pressed council finances, as it would need to be paid for from existing budgets”.

“However, they believe their offer is fair to employees, given the wider economic backdrop.”

Councils have also agreed to discuss reviewing all payscales, saying a “fundamental redesign…is now inevitable” as a way to resolve the “challenge” of keeping payscales fully above the rising minimum wage.

They note the lowest-paid council employees will be earning just 18p an hour more than the £10.42 minimum wage from April until a backdated deal takes effect to raise wages. The offer would take it to £11.59.

A spokesperson for the GMB union said it had received the offer, and had also secured a “commitment that GMB had called for to review and refresh all school support staff roles, which haven’t been updated for ten years”. 

“We will now discuss the offer further with the Local Government Association.”

Mike Short, head of local government at Unison, said investment was “key”, and staff “deserve to be rewarded for their hard work”.

But he added: “This offer falls short of the joint pay claim. UNISON’s committee will now consider it and decide on next steps.”

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