Basic pay fallen 20 per cent in local government


Local government employers accept the wages they pay their staff are too low, according to the public services union, UNISON. The Joint Council for Wales, the body which brings together Welsh council employers and trades unions, has revealed seven years of pay freezes or below-inflation pay awards driven by the UK government have reduced the spending power of their workforce by 21 per cent in real terms.

In a statement of intent agreed today (Friday), the Joint Council has said it lacks the money to fund a fair increase for the thousands of refuse workers, cleaners, carers, highway repair workers, school support staff and many more they employ. The statement will ratchet up pressure to break the public sector pay cap on the UK government.

Dominic MacAskill, UNISON Cymru Wales head of local government said,

“We know severe spending cuts driven by the Conservatives in Westminster have damaged local public services in Wales. What receives less attention is how austerity is undermining the living standards of the very people who deliver vital community services. A twenty per cent cut in pay would leave any household worrying about how the bills are going to be paid and what to chop from the family food shopping.

“There are also thousands of low paid council workers who suffer in-work poverty. This is a national scandal and all public service workers should be paid at least the Living Wage Foundation rate.

“The Joint Council for Wales will be lobbying the UK government for an end to austerity and for the funding to ensure a fair pay increase is made to the local government workforce in Wales.

“UNISON is taking this campaign to the backyard of Alun Cairns on 4 November with a march and mass rally in Barry. We’d encourage everyone who’s had enough of spending cuts and pay freezes to join us and bring your families.”

Notes to editors

  • UNISON has called a #SaveOurServices march and mass rally on Saturday 4 November in the constituency of Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP.  Gather at Kings Square, Barry, from midday. Family entertainment is planned. Public sector workers will march along Holton Road, Broad Street and on to Barry Train Station. All are welcome.
  • UNISON has long been campaigning for a Living Wage in local government and took a lead in scoping the feasibility of its introduction for the Finance Minister.


Joint Council for Wales Statement on Pay in Local Government in Wales

The Joint Council for Wales recognises the impact that austerity has had on the pay of local government workers in Wales since 2010 where basic pay has fallen by 21% in real terms and included a 3-year pay freeze.  


The Joint Council for Wales supports the notion of pay that is both fair, affordable and sustainable.

The Join t Council also supports the NJC for Local Government Services in its pursuance of a renewed pay spine that addresses the issues ‘bunching’ at the lower end of the pay spine. 

The Joint Council for Wales wishes to see an end to austerity and an improvement in funding that enables local authorities to fund a fair pay increase for its workforce. 


Therefore, the Joint Council for Wales resolves to:

  • Ask the LGA to effectively lobby Central Government to fund the implementation of the NJC Pay Spine Review caused by the direct effect of the National Living Wage.
  • Write to both Central and Welsh Governments to provide local government in Wales with the funding to ensure a fair, affordable and sustainable pay increase is made to the local government workforce in Wales.
  • Asks the WLGA to work with the trade unions in pursuance of a fair funding deal for local government.


October 2017



Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397.