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Unions welcome council pay deal; CITY WORKERS WILL GET WAGE INCREASE OF MORE THAN 10 PER CENT.

Byline: SAMANTHA CLARKE

UNION leaders at Coventry City Council have welcomed a new two- year pay deal for government workers.

The increase, amounting to 10.9 per cent or pounds 5.32 an hour for the lowest- paid workers, follows on from a one-day national strike last month - the first in 23 years.

It comes with the establishment of a joint Local Government Pay Commission which will oversee future increases.

Richard Harty, branch secretary of Coventry UNISON, said: "The proposals represent a move towards a fairer system of paying our members, particularly the lowest paid.

"At last the employers are beginning to see the fact that many of our members are paid insulting wages.

"The strong public support for our historic strike action has been tremendous and we thank them for it."

A spokesman for the Transport and General Workers' Union in Coventry said: "We want to thank the public for their support and solidarity. We couldn't have made progress without the support of the public our members serve.

"Seventy-six per cent of people backed a million on strike on July 17 because the public knows that how you treat employees is crucial to the quality of service to the community."

Cllr Jack Harrison, Coventry City Council's Cabinet member for human resources, said: "We are pleased that the proposals cover two years and address some of the problems of the lower paid members of staff, and we welcome the Local Government Pay Commission which will look at pay and conditions in the future.

"Obviously, we have always had money set aside for increases, but we will have to do some analysis on how we will fit the additional costs in this year's budget but as a city council our policy has always been to agree to the national agreement, whatever these proposals were going to be."

The strike was held on July 17 and saw of thousands of the lowest-paid employees picket in Coventry. It forced the closure of many schools, and disrupted refuse collections and library services.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 7, 2002
Words:338
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