Commenting on today’s BBC Wales story that 44 per cent of council jobs in Pembrokeshire are paid below the level of the Foundation Living Wage of £8.45 per hour, UNISON Pembrokeshire branch secretary Janet Wyer said,
“Pembrokeshire councillors should be hanging their heads in shame. It is a disgrace that nearly half of the people delivering vital community services in our county are trapped in in-work poverty. They are working as hard as they can keeping public services going yet every week they’ll be fretting about paying the bills.
“There is no reason whatsoever that Pembrokeshire cannot be a Foundation Living Wage area. If the council paid decent salaries to all, they’d be more money going into our local economy, that’s more money on our high streets and for businesses.
“With cuts in local services forced by Westminster government austerity, those staff who remain are being forced to do more with less. Let’s not forget seven years of pay freezes or below-inflation pay awards driven by the UK government have reduced the spending power of the public sector workforce by 21 per cent in real terms.
“They pay at least the Foundation Living Wage in the NHS and the Civil Service and authorities like Cardiff. Why not in Pembrokeshire?”
UNISON Cymru Wales has been lobbying the UK Conservative government for the public sector pay cap to be scrapped. The trade union 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.
Notes to editors
- BBC Wales has discovered that 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.
- Details obtained through requests under the Freedom of Information Act show that while Cardiff pays all its employees above that rate and insists its contractors too as well , 44% council jobs in Pembrokeshire are paid below that level as are 46% of jobs with Wrexham council .
- Fifteen of the twenty-two local Welsh authorities do not have a commitment to the Real Living Wage of £8.45 an hour.
- In December 2012 the National Assembly and Welsh Government were among the first to pay it. The seven Welsh health boards have followed suit.
- Anti-poverty campaigners like the Bevan Foundation argue that as well as individuals benefiting by £40 a week for a full time job, employers can expect to see increases in productivity and reductions in absences while communities have more money spent within them.
- 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.
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397.