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Councils Should Join 117 Paying Living Wage

Friday, November 1, 2013

GMB Call On All Councils In The UK To Join 117 Councils That Have Agreed To Pay Living Wage As Uprates Are Published On Monday 4th November

As well as benefiting 0.25m low paid workers in local government the benefits also spread to local communities as council workers spend more than half their earnings in their local area says GMB.

As part of Living Wage Week from 3 – 9 November 2013 GMB is reiterating the call on all councils to pay a living wage. This is a major feature in the pay claim for council staff across the UK. See notes to editors for press release issued by GMB last month.

The uprated living wage rates of £7.45 rate for UK and £8.55 rate for London are be announced on 4 November.

This GMB campaign for a living wage in all councils has already led to 85 local authorities in England and Wales, as well as every Scottish council, agreeing to pay a living wage to all staff.

These councils are as follows: Ashfield, Barking & Dagenham, Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Blackpool, Birmingham, Braintree, Brent, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Bromsgrove, Burnley, Caerphilly, Calderdale, Camden, Cambridge, Cardiff, Carlisle, Cherwell, Chorley, City of London, Coventry, Crawley, Croydon, Dartford, Deal, Ealing, Enfield, Exeter, Gedling, Gloucester, Greenwich, Haringey, Harlow, Harrow, Hastings, Hessle Town, Hounslow, Hyndburn, Ipswich, Islington, North Kesteven, Lambeth, Lancaster, Leicester, Lewisham, Malvern Hills, Mansfield, Manchester, Melton Mowbray, Merton, Newark and Sherwood, Newham,  Newcastle under Lyme, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newport, Norwich, Nottingham, Oldham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Redcar and Cleveland, Rossendale, Salford, Sandwell, Scarborough, Sheffield, Slough, South Gloucestershire, South Hams, Southwark, Stroud, Surrey, Swindon, Swansea, Tamworth, Thurrock, Tower Hamlets, South Tyneside, Walsall, Winchester, Wirral, Worcester, Wolverhampton, Wyre Forest, York. All 32 councils in Scotland now pay or are committed to pay a living wage.

GMB has secured the support of Labour leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Treasury Secretary Rachel Reeves for higher pay for low paid council staff and other workers across the UK.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said “Living Wage Week 2013 is an opportunity for us to celebrate the lead many councils have taken in paying the living wage to their staff, and the impact this has had on local communities. We’ve had a fantastic response to the campaign GMB launched in January 2012.

There are over a quarter of a million low paid  workers in local government, but paying them the living wage does more than just give them and their families a decent standard of living. The benefits also spread to local communities – council workers spend more than half their earnings in their local area. Councils also benefit as employers, with lower staff turnover and higher morale bringing savings and improved services so that the policy makes sense, even in the wake of the Government’s cuts to council funding.

GMB’s campaign has made great progress, but we still have a long way to go. It’s time for those councils which have yet to implement the living wage to stop dragging their feet and get on board. We call on all councils to follow suit and bring the benefits of a living wage to their workers, and their communities.”


Contact: Brian Strutton 07860 606 137 or Wales 029 2049 1260 or GMB press office 07974 252 823 or 07921 289880

Notes to editors

GMB press release of 16th October 2013

 Our claim for £1 an hour is not a king’s ransom but it will go some way towards restoring the real pay cuts that council staffs have suffered says GMB

GMB, UNISON and Unite, the three unions representing 1.6 local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, on 16th October agreed to launch a major campaign for a minimum increase of £1 an hour to increase the bottom rate of pay in local government to raise it to a living wage hourly rate. The unions are calling for the same £1 an hour increase to also apply to all pay points above the bottom rate.
A scandalous 500,000 local government workers are paid below the current living wage of £7.45 pence an hour - a rate which will increase in November. Politicians from all parties have recently called for action to deal with low pay and are encouraging individual local authorities to pay the living wage.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said: "One and a half million council workers have seen their living standards cut by 18% and 400,000 of their colleagues lose their jobs. I don't believe any section of the economy has taken such an austerity hit as local authority staff.

 Street cleaners, school dinner staff, social workers, gravediggers, classroom assistants and all the other unsung heroes serving their local communities deserve a decent pay rise.

Our claim for £1 an hour is not a king’s ransom but it will go some way towards restoring the real pay cuts that council staffs have suffered."
Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government at UNISON, said: "Politicians have been right to call recently for action on low pay to end the hardship facing those on poverty wages and to boost demand in the economy. Those on poverty pay include hundreds of thousands of local government workers. But what is being asked of private sector employers must also apply to local government. We expect the government to put its money where its mouth is and ensure that the Local Government Employers can pay the Living Wage to the lowest paid and apply the same flat rate increase of £1 an hour to all those employed by councils. Local government is already the poorest paid part of the public sector and our members have faced massive cuts to other conditions such as unsocial hours payments, overtime and car allowances'. The unions are calling time on the disdain dealt out to our members for keeping local services going while cuts bite."
Fiona Farmer, National Officer for Local Authorities in Unite said: "Low pay and poverty pay are endemic in local government with too many members now reliant on food banks and pay day loan companies. Our members are only asking for a Fair Pay settlement that compensates them for the 16% they have lost in real earnings since 2008. As jobs and conditions of service continue to be cut across the sector our members are working more and getting less, £1 an hour is a Fair Claim and the very least our members deserve."


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