Of course, this is the exact result that the anti-union laws aim to achieve. The requirement to a slow and heavily regulated ballot acted to both remove momentum from the dispute, and give an excuse to the union to not act. In this situation, this was compounded by both the employers and UNISON allowing the dispute to drag out for 7 months.
The accepted offer of 2.475% is significantly below the increase in cost of living, and is the 4th consecutive year that UNISON has accepted a paycut for members without any serious action. UNISON have claimed it is now 'last chance saloon' on public sector pay, but given this record it would seem hard for anyone - the government - to take this seriously. When the next round of pay negotiations begins in 5 months UNISON's lack of resolve on this occassion will place them in an even worse position than this year.
One member we spoke to reacted angrily. "A lot of people in my office are pissed off about the deal and it dragging on so long with little result. And it's not just the employers people are angry at, it's the union - people are starting to wonder why they pay their dues, and why the hell the union are supporting the party in government that has cut our wages for 4 years in a row. The more cynical amongst us are starting to think that this support might have something to do with how spinelessly they've acted."