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1.5 per cent pay increase for council workers ‘insulting’, Welsh trade union says

16 Jun 2021 2 minutes Read
Unison Cymru

Emily Gill, local democracy reporter

A 1.5 per cent pay increase for thousands of council workers is ‘insulting’, a Welsh trade union has said.

UNISON Cymru Wales has called on the UK Government to fund a “proper” pay increase.

The trade union says the increase should reflect the contribution of council staff during the pandemic and “addresses the reduced earnings for Welsh council workers over the last decade”.

The rates of pay and employment conditions of council workers are set by the UK Government, not the Welsh Government.

The 1.5 per cent pay increase offered by the UK Government could be backdated to April 1, 2021,  but would not apply to council chief executives, teachers, firefighters or senior officers, who are all subject to different pay scales.

Dominic MacAskill, the trade union’s head of local government, said: “Council workers put their welfare on the line everyday during the pandemic to keep services running when everyone else could isolate safely.

“They showed their mettle and dedication in unprecedented times. 1.5 per cent is insulting and the reaction of council workers to the offer has been extremely negative.

“We are determined to secure a proper and fair pay increase and that’s why UNISON is urging Welsh council employers to campaign jointly for more central government funding.”

‘Suffered’

UNISON has also called on council employers to join forces and demand more investment.

Jane Gebbie, UNISON Neath Port Talbot branch secretary, added: Covid has shown all local government workers are essential to society. We cared for the vulnerable, staffed school hubs, kept neighbourhoods clean and delivered many more services to the public.

“Council workers feel patronised by the UK government which won’t back up its public praise with a fair pay rise. I’ve lost count of the times, council employees in care, in schools and elsewhere have told me that the Prime Minister’s clapping does not pay the bills.

“Local government staff have suffered years of austerity and now is the time for the workforce to be properly recognised.”

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