Facts & Figures Issue 4: February 2024


Issue 4: February 2024
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Message from Sharon Graham, Unite General Secretary: As we begin to ready ourselves for another season of negotiations, the context for collective bargaining remains favourable

It’s February and many of our negotiators are starting to look to the next pay round. Most of our wage claims are due to be submitted between April and June, and therefore the current economic context is important.

To that end, in recent weeks the Government has been heralding the fall of inflation. The fact that they have had next to nothing to do with any drop off does not seem to matter. They are politicians after all.

But inevitably when negotiations commence, most employers will use lines from Government rhetoric as propaganda. Particularly if they support arguments for pay restraint.

But this is no time to give them much credence.

Profits across most sectors remain buoyant and falling inflation does not mean that prices are falling for our members. Quite the opposite, the cost of goods and services are still rising. In fact, inflation has risen by 30% in four years, meaning that just to stand still, workers would have had to see their pay increase by the same percentage.

Also, don’t be surprised to hear employers using economic forecasts showing predictions of further falls in inflation this year. But as we show in this month’s Facts and Figures, traditional economists have a track record of getting this wrong. Remember, most did not predict the cost-of-living crisis and there are still many underlying factors helping drive inflation above the Bank of England target, not least profiteering!

The conditions for wage bargaining for many, many of our bargaining units remain very good. We should go into this pay season with confidence as our Union continues to win at the workplace.

We have now secured over £430 million in additional pay and benefits because of successful disputes. In the last month alone, our negotiations have secured further pacesetting deals.

Amongst the most recent examples is the settlement for thousands of construction workers operating under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). There we won a 17.4% pay rise over two years after a campaign that included the threat of co-ordinated industrial action. The employers had originally offered 8.5% for 2024 and 3.5% for 2025.

In the next few weeks, we will be announcing further offers of assistance for frontline negotiators, including help with costing proposals and possible settlements on the day of negotiations.
If you have any questions or ideas for what extra support we could provide, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

In solidarity,

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