The inaugural meeting of the Suffolk People’s Assembly will take place on Tuesday (17 September) with the aim of making Ipswich the epicentre of introducing the ‘living wage’ across the county.
The assembly intends to act as a focal point for a general campaign against the tide of austerity that is hitting the 728,000 people living in this predominately rural county.
The public meeting will be at the Co-op Education Centre Fore Street, Ipswich, IP4 1JW at 19.00 on Tuesday. The assembly is supported by a coalition, including Unite, the country’s largest union.
The speakers will include Independent columnist Owen Jones; John Lister from Keep Our NHS Public, councillor David Ellesmere, Labour leader of Ipswich borough council; Graham White, Suffolk county secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT); and Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland.
Unite regional officer Miles Hubbard said: “Despite its pretty rural image, there is a lot of deprivation and pain in Suffolk caused by the coalition’s austerity programme.
“The first aim of the Suffolk People’s Assembly will be to make Ipswich a ‘living wage’ zone where all employers pay the ‘living wage’ which is currently £7.45 an hour outside London, compared with the national minimum wage of £6.19.
“We hope to encourage employers across Suffolk to eventually adopt the ‘living wage’ as the norm.”
Miles Hubbard said that the assembly would also focus on job losses in the NHS in East Anglia and the privatisation of local health services.
He said: “Norfolk and Suffolk NHS foundation trust is expected to lose 500 posts in the next year and Lowestoft hospital is under threat of closure and the James Paget trust has to find savings of £20 million.”
Councillor David Ellesmere said: “I am very happy to be launching the campaign to make Ipswich a ‘living wage’ zone.
“In April, Ipswich borough council started paying all its directly employed workers the ‘living wage’, and we are looking to extend this to all our contractors.
“We now want all employers in Ipswich to sign up to the ‘living wage’ as part of a drive to create the high skill, high wage, high employment economy this country needs.”
For further information please contact Miles Hubbard on 07980 721 440 and/or Unite press office on 020 3371 2065
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.