NJC pay consultation for council and school workers

Defending and improving members’ pay is one of UNISON’s main tasks.

We believe local government employees should be paid fairly, which is why we work together to negotiate better pay with employers.

For workers in local government and schools, pay and other Terms & Conditions are determined by a negotiating body; the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government services.

The NJC is made up of representatives from UNISON and other trade unions and the employers. The agreements they reach after their negotiations are contained in the “Green Book”. UNISON has over half the trade union seats on the NJC and so is the majority union.

The NJC covers over 1.5 million local government and school workers and so is an extremely important negotiating body. It also has a wider footprint in that other organisations in the public and private sector follow the NJC’s agreements.

The trade unions’ claim

In July 2019, the NJC Trade Union Side submitted the following one year pay claim for 2020/21.

  • A real living wage of £10 per hour to be introduced for NJC SCP1 and a 10% increase on all other NJC pay points.
  • A one day increase to the minimum paid annual leave entitlement set out in the Green Book.
  • A two hour reduction in the standard working week as set out in the Green Book.
  • A comprehensive joint national review of the workplace causes of stress and mental health throughout local authorities.

Final response to claim

  • Following extensive negotiations over several months, in April 2020, the Employers’ side made the following final offer in response to our claim:
  • With effect from 1 April 2020, an increase of 2.75% on all NJC pay points 1 and above.
  • With effect from 1 April 2020, an increase of one day to the minimum annual leave entitlement as set out at Part 2 Paragraph 7.2 in the National Agreement. This increase would apply just to those employees whose leave entitlement at 1 April 2020 is twenty one days (plus extra statutory and public holidays) and would revise the current provision to read as follows: “7.2 The minimum paid annual leave entitlement is twenty two days with a further three days after five years of continuous service. The entitlement as expressed applies to five day working patterns. For alternative working patterns an equivalent leave entitlement should be calculated”.
  • The National Employers agreed that the Joint Secretaries should continue their discussions on the element of the claim that seeks “a comprehensive joint national review of the workplace causes of stress and mental health”.

The Employers did not make any offer in response to our claim for a reduction in the working week.

  • The National Employers proposed that the Joint Secretaries enter into discussions, without prejudice, in order to examine all options for ensuring the sector, and the NJC pay spine, can meet the challenge of the Government’s target for the National Living Wage in the coming years.

After this, UNISON’s NJC Committee decided that the negotiating process had not been completed, as the Employers’ side had not
fulfilled an earlier recommendation to the Local
Government Association that they should approach the UK
Government for more money for Local Government pay. The unions had requested that this should be a joint approach. However, once the Local Government Association declined to write to the Government asking for more money for pay, it became clear that the bargaining process had reached an end.  At its meeting on 5 June, the NJC Committee agreed to launch a Consultation of members on the pay offer.

UNISON NJC Committee’s view

The UNISON NJC Committee is asking members to vote to accept or reject the pay offer.  The Committee believes strongly that this pay offer falls far short of what members need and deserve. Local Government staff have suffered years of real terms pay cuts and have shown how vital they are during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Committee is clear that discussions with the employers can go no further, so this offer is the best achievable by negotiation.


UNISON NJC Pay Offer 2020/21: Consultation Ballot Paper

Please take time to consider the pay offer and please register your vote electronically by clicking the button below.

NJC Ballot Paper


If members wish to reject the offer, they must be prepared to take significant industrial action in order to achieve an improved offer.

Your voices need to be heard…thank you.