Council staff to hold pay protest

Man with an empty wallet

%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%Protests are to be held to highlight the "dire" state of council workers' pay after years of having increases held down by the government.

Unison will hold events across the UK today on the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the national minimum wage, saying that the pay of local government workers has fallen by 18% in real terms since the statutory rate came into force.
Heather Wakefield, Unison's head of local government, said: "Local government workers and the services they provide have faced four years of devastating cuts under this Tory-led Government and today our members are saying enough is enough.

"The national minimum wage was introduced to protect workers who are most vulnerable to low pay.
It was not designed as a tool to benchmark the pay of skilled workers delivering essential public services.

"Three out of four of the local government workforce are women, who are increasingly undervalued and who are not prepared to sit back and let their families slide further into poverty. What we desperately need is a commitment from the Government to implement a Living Wage."

Unison, Unite and the GMB are consulting their local government members on how to respond to an offer which unions say is worth 1% to most council employees.

The TUC said in a separate study of parliamentary constituencies that in some parts of the country, almost half of jobs were paying less than the living wage, currently set at £8.80 an hour in London and £7.65 outside the capital.

The worst areas included Kingswood near Bristol, Chingford, Woodford Green and Harrow in London and Sefton on Merseyside.

Around five million workers are paid less than the living wage, said the TUC.

General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty across Britain.

"Working families are experiencing the biggest pressure on their living standards since Victorian times. Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom and it's costing our economy dear.

"The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it, but government must show equal initiative.

"We need to see a far greater commitment to pay the living wage from government and employers, and modern wages councils which could set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more."

10 worst-paid jobs
See Gallery
Council staff to hold pay protest












Read Full Story