GMB Launches Major Campaign For Living Wage For Local Government Workers
Our claim for £1 an hour is not a king’s ransom but it will go some way towards restoring the real pay cuts that council staffs have suffered says GMB.
GMB, UNISON and Unite, the three unions representing 1.6 local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, on 16th October agreed to launch a major campaign for a minimum increase of £1 an hour to increase the bottom rate of pay in local government to raise it to a living wage hourly rate. The unions are calling for the same £1 an hour increase to also apply to all pay points above the bottom rate.
A scandalous 500,000 local government workers are paid below the current living wage of £7.45 pence an hour – a rate which will increase in November. Politicians from all parties have recently called for action to deal with low pay and are encouraging individual local authorities to pay the living wage.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said: “One and a half million council workers have seen their living standards cut by 18% and 400,000 of their colleagues lose their jobs. I don’t believe any section of the economy has taken such an austerity hit as local authority staff.
Street cleaners, school dinner staff, social workers, gravediggers, classroom assistants and all the other unsung heroes serving their local communities deserve a decent pay rise.
Our claim for £1 an hour is not a king’s ransom but it will go some way towards restoring the real pay cuts that council staffs have suffered.”
Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government at UNISON, said: “Politicians have been right to call recently for action on low pay to end the hardship facing those on poverty wages and to boost demand in the economy. Those on poverty pay include hundreds of thousands of local government workers. But what is being asked of private sector employers must also apply to local government. We expect the government to put its money where its mouth is and ensure that the Local Government Employers can pay the Living Wage to the lowest paid and apply the same flat rate increase of £1 an hour to all those employed by councils. Local government is already the poorest paid part of the public sector and our members have faced massive cuts to other conditions such as unsocial hours payments, overtime and car allowances’. The unions are calling time on the disdain dealt out to our members for keeping local services going while cuts bite.”
Fiona Farmer, National Officer for Local Authorities in Unite said: “Low pay and poverty pay are endemic in local government with too many members now reliant on food banks and pay day loan companies. Our members are only asking for a Fair Pay settlement that compensates them for the 16% they have lost in real earnings since 2008. As jobs and conditions of service continue to be cut across the sector our members are working more and getting less, £1 an hour is a Fair Claim and the very least our members deserve.”
Contact Brian Strutton 07860 606 137 or Wales 029 2049 1260 or GMB press office 07974 252 823 or 07921 289880
Posted: 4th November 2013