Local Government workers across Wales will go on strike today against the UK Governments public sector austerity pay policies. Unite local authority workers recently voted overwhelmingly in support of industrial action, joining local government unions GMB, Unison and members of the NUT.
The action will involve tens of thousands of Welsh workers across a wide range of services.
Unite Wales Secretary Andy Richards said:
“Our members in Wales have endured four years of pay cuts in real terms. Today’s strike action is necessary to drive home the message to UK ministers that poverty pay in local government must end.
Poverty pay is widespread across Welsh Local Authorities – household bills continue to soar, but our members’ buying power is being constantly eroded. Council workers have seen the longest and biggest real terms decline in their pay for generations. Without action the national minimum wage will soon overtake local government pay scales; members are choosing between heating and eating.
The UK Government and their allies will today seek to demonise our members who have taken this action as a last resort. They will seek to pit the public sector against the private sector. Our message is, don’t be fooled. The millionaires at the top want a race to the bottom where all workers, private and public, are on poverty pay. Those who are to blame for austerity and todays fight back are Cameron, Osborne and their financial backers in the City. It was they who caused the financial crisis in the first place and now they want our members to pay the price through poverty pay.
Unite will not sit back and allow this Government, backed and funded by billionaires to attack our members and our movement for supporting those at the very bottom of austerity Britain.”
Unite is seeking a £1-an-hour increase in pay for the local council workforce which has 400,000 employees earning below £15,000 a year and a million earning less than £21,000.
Unite has about 70,000 members across the UK in local government carrying out such jobs as refuse collection, street cleaning, maintenance of council property, traffic enforcement, school support and care services, and grave digging.
The Conservative led coalition Governments continual attack on public sector pay has seen pay packets for many decline by a fifth in real terms.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
For further information or to arrange media interviews please contact Glyn Conolly on 07974 131771.
Unite Wales Secretary Andy Richards will be speaking at a rally in Cardiff’s Temple of Peace from 12pm – 1pm.
Unite Wales Pickets will be in operation at the following locations across Wales:
City Hall, County Hall, Lamby Way
South East Wales
Newport Civic Centre, Torfaen Civic Centre, Blaenau Civic Centre and Barley Field
Cave Street Depot, Llansamlet Recycling Centre, Swansea County Hall
Neath & Port Talbot
The Quays Neath, Port Talbot Civic Centre, Pontardawe Arts Centre
Bridgend Civic Centre, Sunnyside Offices
South West Wales
Thornton Depot, Haverfordwest County Hall
North East Wales
Ruthin Road Depot, Abbey Road Depot, Guildhall.
Altami Depot, Delyn House, Mold County Hall
Powys County Council Office Welshpool, Powys County Council Office Newtown
North West Wales
County hall Ruthin. Council depots in Denbigh, LLangefni, Caernarfon, Pwllheli, Dolgellau, Rhyl, Conway and Colwyn Bay.