Campaigners call for pay rise for local council workers

UNITED: Members of the Unite and Unison trade unions made a stand outside County Hall on TuesdayPICTURE: Western Telegraph

UNITED: Members of the Unite and Unison trade unions made a stand outside County Hall on TuesdayPICTURE: Western Telegraph

First published in News

TRADE unionists gathered outside County Hall in Haverfordwest on Tuesday, February 4 calling for fair pay for local government workers.

Members from Unison and Unite joined forces to campaign for a minimum pay increase of £1 an hour on scale point 5 to achieve the living wage and the same flat rate increase on all other scale points.

The unions said local council workers have suffered an 18% cut in wages since 2010 because of a three year pay freeze and a pay rise of just 1% last year - which was well below inflation and left thousands of people struggling to make ends meet.

Vic Dennis is the branch secretary for Unison and he does not think it is a lot to ask.

He said: “A pay freeze and eight years of below-inflation pay rises since 1997 mean thousands of local government workers, from across the pay scale, are struggling to make ends meet.

“Over half a million, mostly women, mostly part-timers, earn less than the living wage.

"Only in local government and local authority schools are large numbers of public sector employees paid so poorly.

"No one in local government earns as much for the job they do as other public sector workers doing equivalent jobs elsewhere."

Mr Dennis added that Pembrokeshire County Council was the largest employer in the county by a mile, and paying the living wage will enhance the council’s reputation, boost morale and improve productivity.

“Living wage employers report retention of staff, improved service, and a reduction in absenteeism and reduced recruitment costs,” he said.

The protest came at the time that pension payments to council chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones and another senior officer were declared unlawful by the Wales Audit Office.

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