Monday, 25 January 2010

The Perfect Pay Storm

Heather Wakefield, UNISON's National Secretary for Local Government has written on her Public Finance blog about the pay freeze being "offered" to council workers this year.

Heather is the union's lead negotiator on local government pay and it is well worth seeing what she has to say. You can read her article here.

The article makes the case that Council workers are hardly well paid now, and that councils have the money to pay a decent pay award, as oppose to the effective pay cut that is now on offer. The whole article is worth reading but a few key points that are worth repeating are:

** Over a quarter of a million employees are on the bottom three pay points, earning less that £12,500 a year for a full-time worker. A staggering 61% earn below £18,000.

** In 2008/09, the average lowest pay point across all the largest public sector bargaining groups was £13,481. For the largest local government group covering 1.4 million workers within the NJC for Local Government Services, it was £11,995.

** Non-school reserves in local authorities in England rose from £5.5bn in 2002 to £12.75bn in 2009, despite councils submitting budgets saying that they would need to draw on reserves, rather than increase them.

Councils should not use the financial mess caused by greedy bankers to punish hard working council workers, especially when it is clear councils have the money for a decent pay offer.

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