Local government comment

By Fiona Farmer National Officer for Local Government

Local government workers are the lowest paid workers across all public services, with two thirds of employees earning less than £21,000. 

So it is appalling that in October the national minimum wage will overtake the pay of many local government employees. 

This follows below-inflation pay increases since November 2009.  In real terms, this is five years of government-imposed pay cuts on public sector workers – cuts imposed by millionaire ministers. As local council employees are so badly paid – with half a million below the low pay threshold – many of them will be claimants of benefits that have also been brutally cut by the ConDem government.

If local government pay had increased in line with inflation, workers’ pay would be on average £2,000 higher – that’s a loss of £1 for every hour worked.

Unite are fighting for a pay increase of £1 per hour for local council workers, where 400,000 of the mainly female workforce earn less than £15,000.

This pay rise would do more than benefit employees, as 52p in every £1 is spent in the local economy.

Unite has 90,000 members in local government, and have joined up with Unison and the GMB to take strike action on Tuesday 14 of October, a few days before the TUC organised national demonstration on Saturday 18 of October.