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Update NJC Pay Claim 2021/22

28th January 2022

Since October 2021 the National Joint Council  (NJC) unions have been in the process of balloting their members with regard to undertaking industrial action in respect of the 2021/22 pay claim.

The original pay claim was lodged in February 2021, with the unions seeking a minimum 10% pay award plus a range of other enhancements to terms and conditions. In May 2021, the Employers’ Side formally responded with a pay offer of 1.5% on all points as well as a commitment to:

  • complete the outstanding work of the joint Term-Time Only review group
  • undertake additional exploratory work on a national minimum agreement on homeworking policies
  • an agreement on a best practice national programme of mental health support
  • a joint review of the Green Book provisions covering maternity, paternity, shared parental, and adoption leave.

This offer was rejected by the trade union side this was followed by the employer’s side setting out a revised final offer in July 2021 comprising of:

  • 2.75% increase on NJC point 1.
  • 1.75% increase on NJC pay points 2 and above.
  • Completion of work of the joint Term-Time Only review group

Following the rejection of the final offer in October 2021 by Unison, GMB & Unite,  the national employers side met on 19 October to consider the unions’ request to reopen  pay negotiations agreed by a majority to reaffirm that the pay offer they made on 27 July is full and final.

Since October the NJC unions have been in the process of balloting their members with regard to undertaking industrial action. A ballot of employees is necessary before industrial action can be called for or endorsed. The ballot must produce a majority in favour of industrial action and at least 50 per cent of those eligible to vote must have voted for action to be lawful.

GMB is conducted a consultative ballot which closed on 13 December and UNISON conducted a formal ballot during the period 1 December to 14 January.  Members of the GMB and UNISON voted to reject the final pay offer and in favour of industrial action however, in both instances, the turnout did not meet the legal threshold required to take industrial action on a national level. Both unions are considering their next steps which GMB making a statement on their website that they view the result as a 'mandate to seek further talks and an improved offer'.

Unite’s ballot is running between 14 January to 17 February 2022. Unlike UNISON, which conducted an aggregated ballot, (meaning it required at least 50% of its national membership to cast a vote to meet the legal threshold for industrial action), Unite’s results will be collated on a disaggregated basis.  This  means that strike action could be taken at either council or school level where a turn-out at amongst members working at  each council or school is at least 50% and there is a majority vote in favour of strike action within each council or school.

We will keep you updated on future developments as they occur.