Public services minimum wage call

Unite policy conference unanimously agrees motion on a public services minimum wage of £15 an hour

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On the first day of Unite’s policy conference on Tuesday (July 11) Unite delegate Heather Gilfillan from Scotland highlighted the importance of public services as she moved a motion on a public services minimum wage of £15 an hour.

Heather told conference of media reports every day showing public services on its knees, facing massive staff shortages and decades of underfunding under successive Tory governments. She highlighted that everyone uses public services provided by hardworking staff such as teachers, refuse workers, home carers and others.

She noted too that one local authority in Scotland has only recently agreed to pay all staff a £17 an hour minimum wage.

“Wouldn’t it would be fantastic if we could follow their lead?” she said as she called on conference to support the motion and work with public sector RISCS and NISCS to create a public services pay policy of £15 an hour.

The motion also calls on local government to ensure ethical procurement and fair policies so that all providers’ contracts include a £15 an hour minimum wage, Heather added.

Unite delegate George McDonnell of the East Midlands (pictured below) spoke in support of the motion, saying that his brother works on an Alzheimer’s ward and earns only £9 an hour, whereas he works in a supermarket and earns £11 an hour.

“How can we justify someone who works in Alzheimer’s ward earning less than me?” he asked conference. “The reality is we will all need these care workers – and nurses, doctors and others too — at one point in our lives. It’s about time we actually paid them properly.”

The motion was carried unanimously.  

By Hajera Blagg

Pics by Mark Thomas