Gloucestershire council debates fair pay for public service workers

A motion calling for fair pay for public service workers will be debated by Gloucestershire councillors this Wednesday (13 September 2017).

The motion would commit Gloucestershire council to support ending the public sector pay cap, which has meant average pay for public employees decreased in value by £3,875 since 2010.

Labour councillors proposing the public pay motion want council leaders to write to the government calling for a rise for staff, who saw their pay frozen from 2010 to 2012, and then increase by just 1% per year, far behind the 17.7% jump in the cost of living.

Government ministers have hinted that money could be made available to remove the cap for police and prisons staff. With inflation rising to 2.8% trade unions are calling for a rise of 5% for all local government workers and the real Living Wage (£8.45 per hour) to be awarded to staff on the lowest rates of pay.

Pay Review Bodies, independent organisations tasked with recommending levels of pay and conditions for public employees, have recently highlighted problems with recruitment and retention caused by the pay cap.

UNISON organiser for Gloucestershire Jayne Jackson said:

“Local services are in crisis thanks to seven years of neglect from the government. There are 800,000 fewer people working in local government alone, while demand for services has shot up. Public service staff are working harder than ever but their wages have lagged far behind the cost of living.

“Public service workers are struggling to make ends meet, going into debt, and even having to choose between eating and heating. Gloucestershire councillors should back their staff by passing the motion and calling on the government to fund a fair pay deal of 5%.”

The Labour councillor proposing the motion, Barry Oosthuysen said:

“In the last seven years public workers of all sorts, from firefighters and police officers to workers collecting our rubbish have suffered badly under the austerity regime. The government must end this failed ideological experiment”

Labour councillor Kate Haigh, seconding the motion, said:

Our public sector workers are there to support us when we need it most, from civil emergencies to happy events such as weddings.

“They deserve to see their standards of living maintained and not struggle to make ends meet. It is time they got a fair deal.”

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