There have been a number of emails recently relating to the various on-going national pay negotiations and potential for industrial action. We at SEE have been ensuring that our member councils are kept fully informed with the latest updates and circulars which are provided on our website for reference.  Here is a summary of where we are currently and some resources that you may find useful moving forward.

Chief Executives

ALACE has confirmed that the offer has been rejected and they will await the outcome of the Green Book negotiations before moving forward.

Chief Officers

Agreement has been reached for a 3.5% award.


Agreement has been reached for a 3.5% award.


The School Teachers Review Body (STRB) report is currently with the DfE and is anticipated to be published before the Parliamentary Summer Recess. Two further dates have been announced for strike action by the NEU in the ongoing dispute. These will be withdrawn if the report is published and direct talks are entered into.

Local Government Services (Green Book) & Craft (Red Book)

The three Unions have rejected the offer and have moved to ballot for industrial action. Unison and Unite’s ballots are currently open, closing on 4 July and 28 July respectively. GMB’s ballot will commence in September. Each is balloting on a disaggregated basis, requiring a minimum of 50% turnout and a majority vote in favour of strike action on an individual employer basis. This is likely to lead to patchy strike action across the country with neighbouring councils possibly finding themselves in different situations.

The National Employers appreciate (and share) your frustration at what is going to be another prolonged pay round due to the TU’s timetables for ballots and potential strike action. The Pay Claim was received by the National Employers on 31 January 2023. Pay Briefings were held within two weeks.  A Full and Final Offer was made on 23 February 2023 and reconfirmed on 8 March 2023 as it had been rejected by the TUs.

We understand why councils may wish to consider implementing the offered pay award as an interim measure with a view to adjusting payments if necessary once a final settlement has been agreed. However, we, and the LGA, have always advised very strongly against imposing any pay offer before the collective bargaining process has concluded. To do so would not only fragment the unity of the National Employers’ position, but councils would be vulnerable to challenge by Auditors about why, in the absence of a national collective agreement, expenditure has been unnecessarily incurred.

Perhaps more importantly is the potential wider legal issue, including those arising out of the cases of Kostal UK Limited v Dunkley and INEOS Infrastructure Grangemouth Limited v Jones & others. In summary, the employers in both instances implemented their final offer before it had been accepted by the unions. They were found to have been in breach of the collective bargaining process, which must be allowed to run its full course, no matter the employer’s frustration at delays caused by the unions. The fine imposed was approximately £5k per employee that received the up-front, interim payment in lieu of a final, jointly agreed pay deal.

The real risk any council runs by paying early, and the benefit of maintaining a united employer front cannot be over-stated. We discuss this and other aspects of pay negotiations in the latest episode of ‘The HR Edit’, SEE’s podcast series. The HR Edit podcast – South East Employers (

We understand that UNISON is also unhappy about the prospect of the imposition of the pay offer by any individual council during this time, and are advising local officials to not agree to early payment.  They are also keen to maintain a united approach on their side of the bargaining table.

In preparation for what seems the inevitable strike action councils will face, we encourage you to make use of the comprehensive industrial action guidance and FAQs developed by the LGA.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on

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