The four unions, including Unite, Unison, UCU and NEU, representing thousands of youth and community workers across England and Wales – in local government and the community, not for profit and voluntary sectors – have today submitted a pay claim that is seeking to narrow the growing gap between declining wages and rising costs since 2010.
The two year pay claim from September 2018 is for five per cent or £1,000 a year (whichever is the greater) in 2018 and 2019. The claim also seeks to move the lowest paid staff onto the real living wage of £8.75 an hour or £10.20 in London.
Since the introduction of austerity policies in 2010, the majority of youth and community workers have seen their wages cut by 21 per cent after years of pay freezes, or below inflation increases of just one per cent.
The recent spike in youth crime and its devastating impact on young lives has come eight years after councils across the country first started slashing spending on youth services, say unions.
Since 2010 and a £400m funding cut, hundreds of youth clubs and play centres have been shut and youth worker jobs have been lost.
Unite, UNISON, NEU and UCU say that it is time to pay up for youth work and value the services children and young people receive.
Unions say this is especially important after the UK finished 23rd out of 172 countries in Save the Children’s end of childhood index last year – despite having the fifth largest economy in the world.
“Youth and community workers been left struggling to make ends meet under this government’s austerity policies,” said Unite national officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe. “Thousands have lost their jobs while the crucial services they provide to children and young people have been cut to the bone. They have seen their profession crumble through de-professionalisation and downgrading.
“Today we are saying enough is enough. It’s time to pay up for youth and community workers and invest in the services children and young people receive.”