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Exclusive: MPs' Staff Ballot For Strike Action Over 15% Pay Demand

MPs’ staff are to hold a strike ballot after rejecting a “woefully inadequate” 4.9% pay offer, HuffPost UK can reveal.

The parliamentary branch of the Unite union unanimously passed a motion demanding an increase for their members of the RPI rate of inflation plus 2%, which works out at around 15%.

Although the staff are employed by MPs, the budget and pay grades are set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

The Unite motion says: “Years of below inflation pay increases and a fundamentally broken system of employment has led to widespread insecurity and a depression of staff wages.

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“The 2023/24 increase, which is half the current rate of inflation and lower than the private sector increase, will only further exacerbate the problem.”

It adds: “This branch resolves to begin the process of balloting for strike action and reiterates our call for an RPI +2% pay rise.”

In a letter to IPSA chair Richard Lloyd, Unite official Max Freedman said: “The branch meeting was one of the largest we have ever had and the motion passed without dissent.

“We are happy to meet with you at any point to discuss how we can call off action.”

Leeann Clarkson, secretary of Unite’s parliamentary staff branch, said in a letter to union members: “MPs as the employer must be the focus of the ballot but they will not be the target of the campaign.

“It is regrettable that IPSA have not negotiated over the pay that staff need and deserve at a time of soaring cost of living that has led to this situation.”

The IPSA website says the body “may provide additional funds to MPs’ staffing budget to facilitate a percentage annual increase to the salaries of staff members”.

It goes on: “Such annual increases will be applied automatically, except where a member of staff has been opted out of this arrangement.

“The amount of this increase will be determined by IPSA and communicated to MPs and their staff ahead of the start of the financial year.”

A copy of the Unite motion was also sent to Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle.

His spokesperson said they would not comment.

The possible strike would be the latest in a line of industrial action taken by public sector workers over the last few months, including nurses and railway workers.

Last month Tory MP Lee Anderson - who was appointed the party’s deputy chairman earlier today - was accused of using a member of staff as a “political football” after he tweeted about her financial situation.

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