Relief for Labour bosses as party staff accept pay offer to end long-running dispute

Posted On: 
8th July 2019

Labour party bosses have avoided a walkout by staff action after it was confirmed that they had finally accepted a pay deal.

Labour party employees have accepted a pay increase of 2.2%
PA Images

A ballot by the Unite and GMB unions found that a majority of their members were in favour of accepting the award, which will see all employees below director level handed a 2.2% rise.

PoliticsHome understands that GMB members voted 61% to 39% to accept the deal, with Unite members voting 59% to 41% in favour.

Party management had tabled the "final" offer after previous ones had been rejected three times by staff.

The trade unions had said that if the offer had been turned down again, it would have amounted to a green light for strike action.

In a document outlining the latest offer in June, bosses said: "Please note that this is an improved and final offer. If we receive a positive result by 9 July we will pay the increase in the July payroll and the backdated pay in the August payroll."

Failure to reach a deal could even have seen the party's Brighton conference in September put at risk.

Urging their members to accept the pay offer, the two unions said: "This is the best offer the reps believe can be negotiated short of taking industrial action.

"If the majority of our members rejected this offer, the unions will take that as an indication of their wish to proceed to a ballot on whether to take industrial action."

Following the decision by members, a Unite spokesperson said: “Both Unite and the GMB Labour Party staff branches have voted in favour of the latest pay deal. We would like to thank our members for their patience and support during this process.”

In May, Labour general secretary Jennie Formby was forced to apologise after appearing to suggest that the party's maternity conditions were partly to blame for the rejected pay offers.

She had told staff in an email earlier that the "extremely generous" pay for new mums and dads had cost the party £1 million in the past year.

Following a backlash, she sent another email to party staff saying: "Further to my earlier email we have had some feedback regarding the point made in respect of maternity/paternity leave.

"We are very proud of the terms and conditions that we provide to staff and making reference to the excellent parental leave conditions that we offer was included as an illustration of how much we value our staff and want them to have the best; it was not intended to indicate that this is in any way a burden. 

"Please accept my apologies if the wording has created the wrong impression, which was absolutely not our intention."