Local government employers have been in negotiations with support staff unions Unison, Unite and GMB over the pay offer for April 2018 and 2019. Like NAHT's own joint pay claim for teachers and school leaders, the unions presented a joint claim for 5% across all roles and an additional increase to take lesser paid roles up to the new national living wage.
Employers have come back with a revised proposal that covers the two years from 1 April 2018. It would mean a 2% wage rise next April for the majority of council and school support staff currently earning more than £19,430, and a further 2% in April 2019. But it also proposes to give lower paid staff a higher wage rise – of up to 16% over the two years.
The proposals also include a revamp of National Joint Council pay scales.
Commenting on the proposals, NAHT's general secretary Paul Whiteman said last week: "This separate pay negotiation for one section of school staff highlights why NAHT is campaigning for one common framework for the pay and conditions of all staff working in all schools; from support staff to chief executives and executive heads. Only this can ensure a pay framework that can fully reflect and address some of the pressures on schools and create the right level of accountability for public spending.
The funding crisis facing schools means that all 2018 pay increases will be extremely challenging and only affordable in many schools at the expense of further cuts. Schools have been expecting the move towards the national living wage for their most junior support staff but this move to go beyond that with increases of over 9% will present a significant challenge to school budgets. Whilst it's undeniably the right thing to do, increases must be fully funded in school budgets.
NAHT supported the initial proposal for a 5 % restorative pay increase across all roles, and this reflects the pay claim we developed with most of the other teaching unions in relation to teachers and school leaders. A proposal that will only offer our school business leader members a 2 % increase in both 2018 and 2019 is therefore clearly insufficient. As staff in schools have seen their pay decline year-on-year since 2010, this will fail to ensure that we can attract and keep the best professionals to work in schools."
The full details of the local government employers' offer can be found below and the three support staff unions are currently considering whether they will accept it.