WELSH COUNCIL WORKERS 22 PER CENT POORER OVER LAST DECADE

Eight years of pay freezes and pay caps have left Welsh local government staff 22 per cent poorer in real terms and council workers from three of Britain’s biggest unions will today (Thursday) hold a lobby for a fair pay rise outside the Welsh Local Government Association.

Road maintenance staff; social workers; school support staff; carers; refuse workers and many more belonging to GMB, UNISON and Unite will demonstrate outside a meeting of council leaders from 9.30am, at Local Government House, Drake Walk, Cardiff, CF10 4 LG.

The trade unions want each Welsh authority to pass a motion endorsing their call for the lowest paid council staff to be paid at least £10 per hour from April 2020, with all other staff receiving a 10 per cent pay rise.

The trade unions say the wages of the majority of local authority workers in Wales have declined in value by 22 per cent when earnings are compared to increases in the cost of living over the last decade. For those on the most common salary point, the shortfall is £5,626.

GMB, UNISON and Unite argue the pay rise must be funded by new money from the Westminster government because current local government budgets are already under severe strain.

Dominic MacAskill, UNISON Cymru Wales head of local government and spokesperson for the joint trade unions said,

“Wales’ thousands of council workers have endured a decade of pay restraint. It’s left them and their families 22 per cent worse off but their bills still have to be paid and electricity, child care and transport costs have sky-rocketed.

“At the same time, these same staff are working harder than ever before. Deep Westminster spending cuts mean they are forced to keep local community services running on drastically reduced budgets.

“78 per cent of councils report recruitment and retention problems and this is a direct result of pay being so tightly squeezed.

“Council workers need a decent pay rise which goes some way to making good the real terms losses over the last ten years and we need to lift people out of in-work poverty with a £10 an hour minimum wage.”