Hundreds of thousands of people took industrial action on 10 July to call for fair pay for local government workers. Here, a few of our members tell us why they felt they had to take their demonstration right to the heart of London.
Michael, council worker
“We’re striking for a better and fairer deal for us workers in the public sector. We’re only asking for a pound an hour. They’ve offered us 1 per cent, a pound an hour works out to 8 per cent. Over the years, we’ve lost 18 per cent, so we’re really not asking for much at all. More than that, today is our day, for the working class, to say no to government austerity.”
Scott, cleansing operative
“With the pay freezes, we haven’t been able to feed our families the way we need to. We haven’t been able to pay our rent on time. I hope the government will listen to us and hear us so we can carry on living. The way I see it, we’re getting ripped off. When the government says these pays freezes are necessary, I say that’s boll**ks.”
Daniel, refuse driver
“I’ve got my family to feed. My wife is not in work now, and we’re struggling on my wage. We’re finding it hard to pay the bills. It’s making life incredibly stressful. If the government says these cuts are necessary, then why are they getting an 11 per cent pay rise? I want today to bring more public attention to the conditions that we public sector workers are under and the challenges we face in everyday life, in which wages stay frozen but the price of food and everything else has gone up.
“Some of the lowest paid workers in the country provide local services. The last four years have been crushing for them. The cost of living has gone up, wages have gone down. We’re taking a hit for what isn’t our problem. Our members are going week-to-week, month-to-month, so when they need something like a car repair, it’s taking them into debt, into a place some of them have never been before. There’s this constant pressure of paying the bills this week but wondering what’s going to happen next. What I hope to accomplish today is a sense of solidarity for workers, that we can act together, that there is something to fight for: our collective needs.”
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