Staff in UNISON against council pay cuts

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Council staff demonstrated outside the Civic Offices this morning to protest against pay cuts which could see some lose thousands of pounds.

UNISON members and representatives are angry that extra pay for weekend and evening working would be stopped, as a result of planned cuts.

A spokesman for the community support team, said: “This is affecting frontline workers. They want to take away the pay we get for doing unsociable hours, plus we will have to pay for the travelling we do.

“As much as we care about these people we have to support ourselves, this is belittling the work we do. On Christmas Day we had a big party, staff went in and cooked. The people doing 9 to 5 wouldn’t have done that.

“I think this shows we are not going to take this lying down. Most managers have not taken pay cuts, but because we’re caring people we are being exploited. We’ve got no support but the massive cut will hurt us, some people will lose around £2,500 a year. We are highly skilled people and have to undergo a lot of training to safeguard vulnerable children and adults.”

Steve Brazier, UNISON’S Regional Head of Local Government, said: “Politicians from all parties have been talking about the need to end low pay and introduce the Living Wage. This must apply to Local Government workers, more than half a million of whom currently earn less than the Living Wage.

“It is deeply disturbing to hear the continuing stories of Local Government workers resorting to food banks. These workers have suffered an 18 per cent drop in earnings since the Government’s austerity measures were introduced, which is why we want the same flat rate increase to be applied to everyone.

“More than 75 per cent of the workforce are women, whose contribution has been consistently undervalued. This pay increase should be part of a new gender agenda to give our members the recognition they deserve in their pay packets.

“Our members in local government have shown their commitment to keeping our local services going against all odds, and we now need a commitment from the government and the Local Government Employers to finally make us a decent pay offer. More than half of the cost would be recouped through increased tax and National Insurance take, so it is affordable.”