Council workers in the North East are to take action in an official day of protest.
Today local government employees in the region will take part in protests, stunts and rallies at lunchtime and outside work hours as part of their campaign for fair pay and fair council funding.
The activities today will highlight the state of Local Government pay and the impact of cuts on local jobs and services.
Clare Williams, UNISON Regional Convenor, said: “Today is an opportunity for local government members across the region to tell their employers that they have had enough of being treated like second-class citizens. In the last four years they have seen a massive fall in real terms in their earnings, and are struggling to make ends meet for themselves and their families.
“Many are having to resort to Food Banks to put food on their tables. They are demanding a decent pay rise in recognition of the valuable role that they perform in delivering quality public services to children, young people, the elderly and vulnerable in our communities. The government cuts are having a devastating impact on service provision and on those who are committed to delivering public services. It’s time to stand up for local government and tell the public how government cuts are hitting us all.”
Since 2010, council workers have had a three year pay freeze and then just a 1% increase last year, representing an 18% fall in pay in real terms, back to the level of the 1990s. Council budgets have been cut by 40% by the Coalition government.
UNISON, GMB and Unite – the unions representing 1.6 million Local Government workers – formally submitted their pay claim to employers last November, and expect a formal pay offer later this month.
Ms Williams added: “Politicians need to do more than just talk about supporting the Living Wage, now is the time for Local Government employers to implement it and end low pay for their staff. More than half a million of whom currently earn less than the Living Wage. More than 75% of the workforce are women, whose contribution has been consistently undervalued. UNISON wants this pay increase to be part of a new gender agenda to give women in Local Government the recognition they deserve in their pay packets.”
She said members in local government now need a commitment from the government and the Local Government Employers to make a decent pay offer.