Local government workers planning day of protest in Milton Keynes

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Local government workers are set to stage a day of protest outside Milton Keynes’ Civic Offices over pay.

On April 1, UNISON members will be outside the Civic Offices from 12pm-2pm with flags and banners talking to people about the issue of low pay.

The union says the Chief Executive at Milton Keynes enjoys a salary of just under £154,000 which they say is in stark contrast to the 157 members of staff who are paid below the Living Wage of £7.65.

The campaign asks for a £1 hourly increase on wages for all local government employees to bring pay in line with the Living Wage.

Workers say they will be protesting ‘the 18 per cent fall in real wages they have suffered since 2010’. This, they say, is the result of pay freezes in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and a below inflation pay increase of one per cent in 2013.

One UNISON member who wished to remain anonymous said of the 1% pay rise: “I feel very bad about it, I work hard in my job. The Government don’t care about the likes of me they only care about themselves - let’s put the price of food and daily living up, but not the wages for the job that I do. How is that fair?”

The union claims local government pay is the lowest in the public sector and that workers are struggling to pay their household bills.

Ruth Smith, UNISON Regional Organiser said: “UNISON strongly believes it is unfair that people providing essential public services do not have a decent standard of living. Making the living wage the bottom rate of pay in local government and giving everyone an earnings boost would not only improve morale, reduce sick leave and let employees know that they are valued after all. It would inject some growth into local economies – and so the UK economy too.”