Help them get the pay they deserve

Unite’s fight for council workers’ pay steps up

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Councillors from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are being urged to sign up and support a fair and proper pay rise for council workers in an online letter launched by Unite, as part of its #WorthMore campaign.

Unite’s #WorthMore campaign was launched in response to the National Employers pay offer of just 2.75 per cent and comes just 11 days after Unite announced plans to hold a consultative ballot of its 100,000 members over the offer which works out at just £1.83 a day for the lowest paid.

Over the last 10 years real average wages for council workers have fallen by 22 per cent, due to government imposed pay freezes and below inflation pay rises. The employers’ 2.75 per cent pay offer works out at between £1.83 to £2.20 extra a day for the lowest paid and falls well below the 10 per cent pay increase asked for by the unions in their joint pay claim.

“It is utterly disgraceful that we have had to launch a campaign to get council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland a fair and proper pay rise,” commented Jim Kennedy, Unite national officer.

“Despite the risks, key council workers have continued to keep our streets clean, our communities safe and our loved cared for during the coronavirus crisis.

“To come to the table with such a low pay offer after everything these workers have gone through is an insult. £1.83 extra a day won’t even buy a refuse collector or care worker a coffee from a high street chain at the end of their shift,” he added.

Sign up and support

Although hundreds of councillors have already added their name to the union’s call for a fair and decent pay rise for council workers, the union is calling for more to sign up and support this campaign.

“We are now urging councillors to get behind our call,” explained Kennedy. “They must not shy away from standing up for what it right and using their influence to put pressure on central government to come up with new money for a decent pay rise.”

Unite recently issued the widely shared Real heroes film, which highlighted the extraordinary public support for the nation’s low paid key council workers – including care workers and refuse collectors – who during the coronavirus crisis have been going over and above the call of duty.

Now Unite has issued a second film in the Real heroes series. As part of the campaign, the new film features Unite council worker members and is being launched today, June 22.  As one care worker member interviewed says, “I’m not low skilled. I’m low valued. We deserve a pay rise.”

Jim Kennedy agrees. “It is hugely disappointing that the national employers backtracked on their promise to join the unions in calling on central government for a dedicated pot of money to fund a higher pay rise, but this has only strengthened our resolve.

“For over 10 weeks the nation clapped for the country’s key workers and our NHS. It was very moving for our members who are often overlooked, but now they need people to contact their councillors to help get them all the pay rise they deserve.”


Get your local councillors to sign up! Unite is urging everyone to support the campaign by emailing their councillors through the Unite online tool.


Watch the latest in the Real Heroes series, featuring Unite council worker members.

By Chantal Chegrinec    #WorthMore

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