Union attacks 'low wage epidemic' in local government
Research commissioned by a trade union has indicated 28,000 local government workers are paid below the revised hourly rate for the National Minimum Wage.
Unison’s first annual Town Hall Poor List, a riposte to the Taxpayers’ Alliance’s annual Town Hall Rich List, shows the lowest paid town hall staff - typically cleaners, caterers or carers - earn 1p less than the new minimum pay rate of £6.31 an hour.
In addition, a Unison survey of 14,800 town hall workers has revealed more than a quarter (26%) saw cuts to their wages on top of the three year pay freeze, which the union claims has led to average 16% reductions to pay packets.
Heather Wakefield, Unison head of local government, said: ‘The low wage epidemic in local government is a disgrace.’
‘We know it’s not easy but councils do have other choices; stop stuffing money into the pockets of expensive consultants, piling cash into reserves or wasting lots of public money on privatisation.
‘This is our rainy day – for local government workers it’s pouring,’ Ms Wakefield added.
Publication of the low wage findings comes the day after local government employers offered a 1% pay increase to break the three-year town hall pay freeze.
Key local government unions, including Unison, the GMB and Unite, have demanded a substantial wage increase for council workers, and will meet on 7 May to plan their response to the offer.
However, council employers have expressed themselves ‘extremely disappointed’ with the unions’ refusal to enter into talks on reforming terms and conditions for the first time since 1997.
The Local Government Association’s head of workforce, Sarah Messenger yesterday wrote to trade union bosses saying town hall bosses would now ‘begin concentrating their efforts on assisting councils in whatever way possible to achieve reforms locally’.
One has to be very careful of anything that Unison says. They are part of a Public Sector group that hold monopoly supply positions but have no compunction to strike, hitting the most vulnerable & fellow workers. - We need the right to remove our money from supporting these peopleJ Smith, Added: Thursday, 25 April 2013 06:14 PM
There seems to be a load of politicking by Unison if they hadn't loaded benefits on care staff they wouldn't have lost care homes to the Private Sector. The min. wage is a legal requirement. Councils have drastically cut back on contractors I know I'm one though they do waste money on the 'Big 4' accountantcy firms. You need reserves in any organisation and privatisation should have a business case to save money. One borough I know has cut 10-15% of salaries on middle and senior management post.Stephen Reimer, Added: Thursday, 25 April 2013 02:59 PM
I do not know what the LGA is talking about as many councils have already imposed devalued terms and conditions including sick pay, hours, holidays, bonuses etc. Obviously any LG employer paying below minimum wage should be legally pursued without delay. The living wage should be the aim and what people like Mr Hankey forget is that the more employees are ground down to the minimum wage the more taxpayers have to fund in working benefits. The same is happening in the private sector.Patrick Newman, ex local government, Stevenage, Added: Thursday, 25 April 2013 02:11 PM
Instead of hollering in a rage and ranting on about what a "disgrace" it is, try negotiating. It's an art that seems lost nowadays.David Hankey, Added: Thursday, 25 April 2013 01:32 PM
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