We are launching our Fair Pay for Council Workers petition and asking every member and their friends and families to sign up. We have already written to all Councillors asking them to support us in this campaign, but please continue to put pressure on Council leaders to implement fair pay for all. The living wage factsheet can be found here.
Five reasons why we need a Fair Pay campaign?
1. It’s a pay cut, not a pay freeze
Our members know the true cost of pay cuts: they don’t give up a luxury, they struggle to afford a necessity. Local government workers are facing the second year of a pay freeze at a time when inflation averaged 5%, food prices have been going up by 7% a year and energy prices by 15%. And the people on the lowest grades suffer most as they spend more of their income on these necessities.
2. Is my pay really that bad?
Local government workers are among the lowest paid in the public sector. Three-quarters of the workforce are women, but there’s a part-time gender pay-gap in Scotland of 33%. That means that women working part-time earn 67p per hour, for every £1 per hour that a man working full-time earns. With the cost of living increasing, a two year pay freeze represents a pay cut in real terms.
3. Shouldn’t I be more worried about losing my job through ‘efficiencies’?
UNISON/GMB/Unite are fighting to protect jobs and services up and down the country. But we need to make a stand on pay now to protect your standard of living and show that we value what we do for local communities – even if the employers don’t. This isn’t a choice between fair pay or a job. A continued pay freeze doesn’t come with the guarantee of continued employment!
4. My council is making budget cuts, surely they have no money for a pay award?
Local government workers are not responsible for the current economic situation. It’s unjust and unreasonable to expect these workers to pay for the budget cuts while those who caused the crisis continue to get big pay packets and fat bonuses. All workers deserve fair pay. Managers often talk about ‘affordability’, but it is a question of whether they can afford NOT to give their employees a decent wage. If they are to recruit and retain staff in vital jobs, they will have to pay them a living wage – otherwise, people will vote with their feet. You can’t keep cutting budgets and expect the lowest paid to fill the gap.
5. The Scottish Government promised a £250 pay rise to low paid workers. Why have I not received this?
This commitment does not apply to local government workers. It only applies to workers who are employed either directly by the Scottish Government or Scottish Government agencies. UNISON/GMB/ Unite have pursued this matter directly with the local government employers (CoSLA), however, they have refused to pay this. Another reason why we need a Fair Pay Campaign.