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Byline: David Himelfield ,

nreat service Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary

Council staff union to fight for pounds 1,000 or 5% pay rise

COUNCIL workers in Kirklees are hoping for a pounds 1,000 a year pay rise.

Their union, the GMB, is to demand a pay rise of at least pounds 1,000 for local government employees.

And staff in Kirklees say the money would be deserved.

The salary increase for full-time employees has been proposed to close the pay gap between council's highest and lowest earners.

The demands, drafted by GMB officials, are part of a seven point deal which will be submitted to the National Joint Council (NJC) for local authorities this month. The NJC fixes the pay of 1.5 million council workers, the majority of whom are low paid women workers.

The deal, to last one year, demands:

* a wage rise of no less than pounds 1,000 or 5%;

* hourly minimum wage of pounds 6.30;

* a standard 35-hour week without loss of pay;

* minimum holiday pay for 25 days and one extra day's leave;

* a rise in overnight allowance to pounds 60;

* night shift premia to be increased to 150%, 175% and 200% over the next three years.

GMB represents more than 250,000 council workers from dinner ladies and refuse collectors through to teaching assistants and senior council officers, 1,300 of them in Kirklees.

David Hoyle, GMB branch secretary for Kirklees, said: "pounds 1,000 isn't a lot of money.

"The only benefit council workers ever had was a decent pension. That's been eroded over the years and the Government is trying to erode it again.

"Pay levels for council workers are not as good as they should be. Kirklees Council workers provide a great service and we deserve a living wage."

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: "The public rightly demands good quality service from local councils.

"They also expect people delivering the services to be fairly rewarded and for discrimination against women over equal pay to be eradicated."

Brian Strutton, GMB national secretary for local government, said: "We expect a very tough battle ahead, especially as the Chancellor has been trying to cap public sector pay awards at 2% at a time when inflation is running at 3.9%."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 4, 2007
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