I took a new job three years ago; I was one of the first employees on a new contract, which had unfinished payscales that only specified the "Entry" level pay for each salary band. I was told these would soon be resolved and they would be similar or only marginally worse than the old payscales, which at the time seemed to be a good deal.
In those three years my employer's HR department stopped their payscales grading exercise so I've been trapped on Entry level pay all this time. An increment was recently agreed with the unions but nobody can tell me if this is meant to be the "average" pay for a role, or less than, or more than... I pay my union subs and regularly contact the head of the union for my employer who only ever says they're "working on it", but I understand their position is everybody must be on the old contract and won't discuss the new payscales with my employer.
In the three years I've been here my friends in other businesses and industries (but similar role) salaries have skyrocketed to the £50k - £60k window while I have been trapped in the £35k zone. I would be making £60k quite comfortably right now if I was on my employer's old contract.
Now you might say okay - just find a new job, right? But the issue is that this employer is in the middle of nowhere, there's little other industry, and at the time I moved here I made a commitment, so I mortgaged a house and had kids. I like the area, and I would be sad to leave. I will leave if I have to, because at the moment I feel as if I have been lied to and I am being taken advantage of, which is impacting my mental health.
I have some interviews lined up around the country with salaries comfortably around the £60k mark. If I get an offer from any of these employers, could I negotiate with my employer?
It's a large, byzantine, heavily unionised old engineering company that's been around since the 50s. Everything is rules and processes. At the moment I envision my manager (who I have a VERY good relationship with) agreeing to see if he can put me on the old contract or match my salary, only to be told by HR that they won't budge because there's no formal process to achieve this, and that they could replace me anyway (they can't, Engineering already had a retention problem).
Does Workplace SE think I have any hope? Does anybody have any experience in a similar situation?