UNISON urges MPs: ‘stick up for your communities’

UNISON Cymru Wales has written to all Conservative MPs urging them to attend a debate in Parliament this afternoon (Monday) on the trade union’s petition to end the seven-year public sector pay cap. The petition has been signed by thousands of people and UNISON has said MPs must stand up for the communities they have been elected to represent and the employees who work so hard to keep public services running.

UNISON revealed public service workers have lost the equivalent of a fifth of their wages as a result of seven years of pay freezes or caps driven by the UK Conservative government. It warned this has caused Wales’ 390,000 public service workers and their families to worry about what must be cut from the family budget.

A recent BBC investigation found minimum rates of pay at 15 of the 22 local authorities in Wales are below £8.45 per hour and UNISON has said many public service workers are trapped in in-work poverty. Pay for public sector workers in Wales is negotiated at a UK level and is not a matter for the devolved government.

Margaret Thomas, UNISON regional secretary said,

“The Chancellor’s budget was a damp squib which left hundreds of thousands of Welsh public sector workers angry and increasingly desperate. The government has cut their pay by more than 20 per cent and there is no end in sight to the pay cap. Council cleaners, caterers, school support staff, carers, healthcare staff, refuse workers, highways maintenance staff and many more are the just-about-managing families that Theresa May promised to stand by.

“UNISON invited all Welsh MPs of all parties to meet a delegation of members at the House of Commons on 17 October. We met with numerous Labour MPs and a Plaid Cymru MP. No Conservative MP, including the Secretary of State for Wales, accepted the invitation.

“We are calling on Welsh Conservative MPs to tell the PM and the Chancellor to end the public sector pay cap now and stop thousands of families worrying about paying the bills and how they are going to afford Christmas.”

Notes for editors

  • The House of Commons debate on public sector pay is scheduled for 4.30pm on Monday 4 December 2017.
  • Link to the UNISON petition which triggered the debate.
  • Link to the BBC investigation on low pay in local government. In report on 18 October, BBC Wales discovered just under 70% of local authorities in Wales pay staff less than the Real Living Wage – seen by anti poverty campaigners as what is needed to cover basic living costs. Fifteen of the twenty-two local Welsh authorities do not have a commitment to the Real Living Wage of £8.45 an hour.
  • On 13 October, The Joint Council for Wales, the body which brings together Welsh council employers and trades unions, 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.


  • Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397.

Photo: Tracey Paddison