Headlines: November 29th, 2002

Agreement has been reached on the terms of reference for the commission which will examine pay and rewards for local government services staff. Setting up the body was one of the key proposals made by the Arbitration and Conciliation Service as part of the two-year pay proposals to settle the council workers’ dispute.

It will be chaired by Linda Dickens, the deputy chairman of the Central Arbitration Committee and professor of industrial relations at WarwickUniversity’s Business School. Other members include Frances O’Grady, head oforganisational development at the Trades Union Congress and Michael Greenwood, chief executive of Tameside council.

Professor Dickens said she was pleased to accept the joint invitation of the employers and unions to head the commission. “I recognise the importance of this inquiry in addressing a number of key issues relating to local government pay and will work hard to produce a useful outcome, ” she said.
She will now meet members of the body and hopes to announce soon how people can make an input to the commission’s work and the main themes and areas onwhich views will be sought.

The commission’s work will begin later this month with the appointment of its secretariat support and it is expected to report by September 2003, making its recommendations to the National Joint Councilfor LocalGovernment Services.

Heather Wakefield, national secretary for local government at the union UNISON said, “The pay commission offers the trade unions and the employers a welcome opportunity for a thorough investigation into the pay-related issues facing a workforce delivering vital council services. We will expect local employers, the LGA and the government to address and respond to our evidence on low pay, the growing gender pay gap and widespread recruitment
and retention problems.”

Jack Dromey, of the T&G union said the public wanted to see fair pay and equal pay for local government workers and Mick Graham, the GMB national secretary for public services said, “Our hope is that this commission will better inform our future negotiations within the NJC in order that quality services will be delivered by a workforce engaged on quality terms and

Brian Baldwin, chair of the employers’ side of the NJC said the terms of reference agreed by the two sides provided a basis for discussing localgovernment pay and rewards openly and comprehensively.