Council workers to strike over ‘poverty pay’
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Central Government, Finance
Public sector unions issue 'co-ordinated strike' threat
Council workers across the country are set to strike next month after voting against an "insulting" 1% pay rise offer.
Local government staff members of the union Unite will join up to two million other council workers and teaching staff in strike action on 10 July against the government's public sector austerity pay policies.
Unite’s members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted by 68% to take strike action and by 79% to take industrial action short of a strike after enduring four years of cuts in real terms.
Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: “Our members have endured four years of pay cuts in real terms and they have now voted overwhelmingly to strike on 10 July to drive home the message to ministers that ‘poverty pay’ in local government must end.
“The depth of feeling on the pay issue is reinforced by the fact that local government unions, GMB and Unison, and members of the National Union of Teachers are all taking action on 10 July.
“Poverty pay is widespread across local councils – household bills continue to soar, but our members’ buying power is constantly being eroded. The national minimum wage will soon overtake local government pay scales; members are choosing between heating and eating.
“For too long the council workers have been targeted to bear the brunt of the austerity measures that have been imposed by millionaire cabinet ministers since 2010.
“The aim is to get the employers back around the table to negotiate a fair deal for those who deliver vital local government services, from social care to refuse collection, on a daily basis.”
Unite is seeking a £1-an-hour increase in pay for the local council workforce which has 400,000 employees earning below £15,000 a year and a million earning less than £21,000.
Unite did not ballot its members in Scotland, where the devolved administration has agreed to pay the living wage to all council staff, currently £7.65 an hour.
Unite has about 70,000 members in local government carrying out such jobs as refuse collection, street cleaning, maintenance of council property, traffic enforcement, school support and care services, and grave digging.