Update: January 2022
The results from the Unison ballot are now in. Although there was strong support in favour of strike action (70%), the turnout was low (14.5%) and therefore they will not be undertaking any formal action. An indicative ballot undertaken by GMB resulted in a similar position.
The Unite ballots are still underway.
Update: December 2021
The unions have rejected the National Employers’ full and final one-year pay offer and have confirmed the timetable for industrial action ballots.
UNISON will conduct a formal ballot 1 December to 14 January. Unite's runs 14 January to 17 February (24 February in Northern Ireland). GMB is conducting a consultative ballot (closes 13 December).
Update: October 2021
The National Employers have re-met to consider the unions’ request to reopen the 2021/22 support staff pay negotiations.
During September, all three recognised unions consulted their memberships with a recommendation to reject the final offer. UNISON members voted 79% to 21% to reject; GMB members voted 75% to 25% to reject; and Unite voted 81% to 19% to reject. The unions are all now preparing to conduct industrial action ballots.
The employers have agreed that the pay offer made in July is full and final. The pay offer for 2021 continues to stand as:
With effect from 1 April 2021, an increase of 2.75% on NJC pay point 1
With effect from 1 April 2021, an increase of 1.75% on all NJC pay points 2 and above
Completion of the outstanding work of the joint Term-Time Only review group
A national minimum agreement on homeworking policies for all councils.
Update: September 2021
The three local government unions (UNISON, GMB and Unite) have confirmed that their consultation ballots on the final pay offer will run through to late September/early October. All three unions will be recommending the pay offer(s) be rejected.
Update: July 2021
The National Employers made an improved, final pay offer to the unions (UNISON, GMB and Unite) currently negotiating for the local government National Joint Council (NJC) workforce. The offer is:
- With effect from 1 April 2021, an increase of 2.75% on NJC pay point 1
- With effect from 1 April 2021, an increase of 1.75% on all NJC pay points 2 and above
- Completion of the outstanding work of the joint term-time only review group
Alongside this, the National Employers confirmed they would like to continue discussions on the three additional elements of the unions' claim, as outlined below.
Update: May 2021
The National Employers have submitted an offer of 1.50% on all pay points with effect from 1 April 2021, along with proposals that the NJC begins immediate exploratory discussions on three other elements of the unions' claim:
- A national minimum agreement on homeworking policies for all councils
- An agreement on a best practice national programme of mental health support for all local authorities and school staff
- A joint review of the provisions in the Green Book for maternity/paternity/shared parental/adoption leave
- Following discussions, the Unions decided to reject this offer.
As of February 2021 the support staff unions (UNISON, GMB and Unite) were in negotiations with local government employers over the pay and conditions offer for local government support staff for 2021/22. The original claim called for:
- A substantial increase with a minimum of 10% on all spinal column points
- A joint review of job descriptions, routes for career developments and pay banding for school support staff, and completion of the outstanding work of the joint term-time only review group
- Introduction of a homeworking allowance for all staff who are working from home
- A reduction of the working week to 35 hours with no loss of pay, and a reduction to 34 hours a week in London
- A minimum of 25 days annual leave, plus public holidays and statutory days, for all starting employees, plus an extra day holiday on all other holiday rates that depend on service
- An agreement on a best practice national programme of mental health support for all local authorities
- A joint review of the provisions in the Green Book for maternity / paternity / shared parental /adoption leave
Following the claim we reached out to our SBL members to gather views on this claim in order to support our informal discussions with the representative unions.
We do not believe that the current local government pay scales offer enough flexibility to recognise the status and seniority of an SBL role, nor do they take account of the growth in the scope and responsibility of school business leaders' roles over recent years. We are therefore pleased to see the request for a review of job descriptions and pay bandings for support staff, which could be a positive step forward in improving the situation.
However, we are clear that in the long term there should be a national framework that defines the roles and sets out the pay and conditions of all those employed in a national, publicly funded education system, including school business leaders. We have repeatedly and extensively made this case to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), including in our latest work, which you can find here
We continue to call for a significant pay increase for all teachers and leaders, including school business leaders, which is fully funded by the government. In the interim, NAHT has developed member advice around school business leader pay and grading
, to support individuals with their personal circumstances, and offers support to individual members with their cases for pay reviews.
First published 25 January 2022