Branch View on 2022/23 NJC Pay

Consultative ballot on NJC pay – Southend Branch recommends you vote to REJECT  the employers’ offer

School and Council workers in England and Wales who are on National joint Council (NJC) pay are being asked to vote on the employers’ pay offer in a consultative ballot. Although this is only a consultation it is vital you do return your vote – if the turnout is low we will not get to have our say on our pay nationally.

The current offer is for a flat rate increase of £1,925 on all pay points from 1 April 2022 and an extra day leave from 1 April 2023.

Whether you vote to accept or reject is entirely up to you. However, your branch is recommending you vote to reject the offer.

  • Our reasons:

Compared to inflation it’s a massive pay cut:

  • It looks like a high offer – but it’s low compared to living costs and it’s another pay cut for everyone
  • At the current rate of inflation on an annual salary of £18,887 you will lose 1.61%; on £25,927 you will lose 4.38%; and on £32,797 you will lose  5.93% (more details below)
  • If inflation goes over 20% as now predicted, this will be an even worse cut
  • We have already lost 27% through inflation since 2010

There’s nothing on home working and travel:

  • Our claim for a home working allowance has been ignored
  • Our claim for a review of mileage rates has been ignored
  • The costs of heating your home and running your car are soaring – this offer makes us pay for what we’re saving the employers

It does nothing to help services

  • Council services and schools struggle to recruit now. This will just get harder
  • There is no government funding for the increase – councils will look for further cuts and privatisation

Other sectors are fighting and winning rises

  • Railway staff, postal workers, dockers and others are all standing their ground. Even barristers are taking action and teachers are likely to be balloted.
  • This is no time to accept a pay cut
  • We have the best opportunity for years to act together and push for a decent settlement

That’s why we say- reject this offer!

Read more detail about the issues below….

 or Click HERE for your electronic ballot paper


  • What the ‘offer’ means in detail:

Pay figures:

This looks like a good deal, but because inflation is so high it is actually a pay cut in real terms for every single one of us. Here is how it works out on some of the Southend pay points;

Yearly earnings 1/4/2021 Offer 1/4/2022 % increase % pay cut in real terms (RPI  11.8%)
18,887 20,812 10.19 1.61%
19,280 21,205 9.98 1.82%
20,512 22,437 9.38 2.42%
22,223 24,148 8.66 3.14%
25,927 27,852 7.42 4.38%
30,095 32,020 6.40 5.4%
32,797 34,722 5.87 5.93%
36,370 38,295 5.29 6.51%
40,578 42,503 4.74 7.06%
45,647 47,572 4.22 7.58%
53,502 55,427 3.60 8.2%
60,140 62,065 3.20 8.6%
67,544 69,469 2.85 8.95%


For most members this is the biggest real terms pay cut for many years. Inflation is set to rise even more and stay in double figures for years. The energy price cap for the average home is set to rise to nearly £3,600 in October and over £4,200 in January next year. Our wages have already fallen in real terms by 27.5% since 2010. We cannot let our pay fall even further behind.

Services in Crisis:

Because pay has not kept up with other sectors, many Schools and council services are struggling to recruit and retain staff. People can find easier and better paid work elsewhere. That leaves fewer, lesser experienced staff to deliver frontline services. We need decent pay because we care about the services we deliver.

No help on home working and no increase in mileage:

The employers rejected our claim to support home working and travel We asked for:

  • A Covid-19 recognition payment
  • A national minimum agreement on homeworking policies for all councils and the introduction of a home working allowance
  • An urgent review of all mileage rates currently applying
  • A review and update of NJC terms for family leave and pay
  • A review of term time only contracts and consideration of retainers
  • Reduction in the working week (without loss of pay) to 35 hours (34 in London) plus one additional day of annual leave


None of these are in the offer. Councils are saving a lot of money when staff work from home. Working at home means even bigger heating bills and other costs that have to come out of our wages. 45p a mile does not anywhere near cover the cost of using our cars for work.


Funding from central government

The employer’s offer is not backed up by a commitment from central government to fund whatever pay increase is finally agreed. Without this commitment pay increases will have to come out of existing school and council budgets. If the offer is rejected and members vote to strike, we can put pressure on central government to fully fund our pay increase. This is important.

We mustn’t fall for the myth that ‘the country is broke’. They have choices on spending and tax. Their hike in National Insurance Contributions barely touches the rich. We already pay 12% in NI while the wealthy and the better paid only pay 2% on everything over £50,000!

If the government raised taxes on real wealth, like corporation tax (which is very low in the UK), higher income tax for the wealthy or capital gains tax then the money could be raised quickly and (for once) fairly. In 2020, the Wealth tax Commission calculated that if there was a levy of just 1% on wealth over £1million, £260 billion could be raised in 5 years. The money’s there!

We are not alone

More and more trade unions are taking action because the cost-of-living emergency. Strikes by rail workers, telecoms workers, bus drivers, refuse worker and postal workers are all putting pressure on employers and the government. NHS workers and other public sector workers are also preparing for action over pay. There is a real opportunity for trade unions co-ordinate their action and strike at the same time. This is the best situation for successful strike action we have had for many years.

Enough is enough

A trade union is only as strong as its members who are willing to stand together and take action. We are the only ones who can fight for our pay and defend our services.

Don’t be Fooled – a few years ago this would have been a good offer – today with record inflation it is a very bad offer

If our Pay doesn’t Rise, We will!


  • What you can do:

Every member needs to vote

Being a UNISON member means using your vote – either to accept or to reject the offer. The 2016 Trade Union Act say that at least 50% of trade union members need to vote in a strike ballot for it to be legal. In consultative ballots, UNISON needs to know what a majority of its members want to do. Democracy doesn’t work if only a minority vote.

So, make sure you have your say. If you want to accept the offer it is just as important for you to vote as it is if you want to reject it. Whether by post or email, all ballots are secret, and no one will know which way you voted.

UNISON activists will spend a lot of their own time trying to make sure everyone gets a ballot paper and encouraging them to have their say. Please help them by looking out for the email or letter and then voting. More details will come out with the ballot paper.

Pay Campaign Contacts

This new  role is intended be a special pay campaign workplace contact to receive and distribute locally information on UNISON’s pay campaigns to members and non-members. This network of contacts will hopefully build visibility for the campaign. This should help to strengthen our campaign get the vote out in ballots or consultations and maximise workplace organisation. Pay Campaign Contacts have no formal responsibilities. Please contact the branch office if you want to help the people you work with keep up with the pay campaign. Every workplace should aim to have at least one Pay Campaign Contact.

Together we are stronger

Colleagues who are not members of a trade union are getting the benefit of unions negotiating and collectively bargaining for all of us. Without pressure from the trade unions, backed up ultimately with the possibility of taking strike action, this year’s pay offer would have been even worse. Please encourage colleagues who are not in a trade union to join UNISON and help us campaign for pay and public services. Trade unions are about looking after each other and the more members we have, the more effective we are.

Best wishes and Solidarity

Claire Wormald, Branch Secretary & Louise McDermott Chair

 Click HERE for your electronic ballot paper