Following a massive public sector strike in July, Unite and two other public sector unions have agreed to escalate their dispute to end the scandal of poverty pay endemic in local councils.
Unite, GMB and UNISON have jointly announced a strike of their local government and school members across the country, which will take place October 14.
Unions have petitioned employers to end their assault on local government worker wages, offering to settle the dispute through ACAS, the government’s arbitration and conciliation service. But employers have refused to budge.
Government workers, who include care workers, cleaners, librarians, and teaching assistants among others, provide vital services indispensable to the smooth functioning of local authorities. In return, they receive shockingly little pay.
Since 2010, they have seen their pay reduced in value by 20 per cent, and have suffered three straight years of pay freezes. The offer on the table now is a paltry one per cent pay rise.
Unite National Officer, Fiona Farmer, said, “Local government workers have had years of real pay cuts, working harder to deliver vital local services while being paid less and struggling to make ends meet. Low paid members unable to afford basic essentials are having to choose between heating and eating. On October 1 the national minimum wage will overtake local government pay scales; we need fair pay not poverty pay.”
The October strike will come just a few days before a nationwide TUC-organised demonstration on October 18 calling for decent pay.