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Councils put increase in pay packets.

Byline: FIONA SCOTT, Political Editor

THOUSANDS of council workers in Coventry and Warwickshire are to get a 7.7 per cent pay rise over two years - with 10.9 per cent for the lowest paid.

Members of the T&G, GMB/Apex and Unison unions have accepted a deal brokered by ACAS to cover local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Thousands of workers went on a one-day strike earlier in July after rejecting a pay offer of three per cent for one year.

Council services closed down for that day, affecting bin collections, council tax collections and schools.

The unions announced their acceptance after consulting with their members for six weeks on the pay offer.

The rises will flow into pay packets from next month.

Under the deal, all directly-employed local government workers will receive three per cent from April 1 this year, with one per cent more from October 1 and another one per cent for the lowest paid.

Next April there will be a 3 per cent rise, with an extra one per cent for the lowest paid.

The minimum wage will rise from pounds 4.80 an hour to pounds 5 backdated to April and rising to pounds 5.33 from April next year.

The employers have also agreed to a Local Gov-ernment Pay Commission to look at low pay in councils long-term. It is due to report in September next year.

It will look at difficulties in recruiting and keeping staff, gaps in pay between traditionally male and female jobs and comparison with private sector jobs.

Unison head of local government Heather Wakefield said: "They will expect Government and the employers to be prepared to act upon the Commission's evidence in the 2004/2005 pay negotiations through investment in the workforce."

T&G National Organ-iser, Jack Dromey said: "The biggest strike in a generation, backed by the public, has put the plight of Local Government public servants centre- stage."

GMB National Sec-retary, Mick Graham said: "This is a welcome increase for our 277,000 local government workers who are mostly women and part time, who will ultimately receive pounds 5.33 an hour. It is a much deserved pay increase."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 23, 2002
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