Protests held by UNISON members over low pay

Cuts in wages after a three-year pay freeze has forced local government workers to protest over issues of low pay as some claim they “can’t go on like this”.

UNISON members were outside Milton Keynes’ Civic Offices on Saxon Gate this afternoon with flags and banners to hand out information to people passing by.

UNISON members Fran Bower, Ryan Slaughter, Caroline Raine and Paula Mason

UNISON members Fran Bower, Ryan Slaughter, Caroline Raine and Paula Mason

Fran Bower, UNISON branch chair, said: “Our members have just had a ridiculously low pay offer and so we’re here today to let the public and employees of the council know about it and ask them to support us.

“I think it’s been a good turn out today, with members of other unions here as well and we’ve had a really good response from the public.

“We’ve got to do something, we can’t go on like this.”

Their 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, which they claim is the result of pay freezes in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and a below inflation pay increase of one per cent in 2013.

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.”