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Poll: Welsh public supports pay rise for public service workers

06 Dec 2021 3 minute read
Unison rally. Picture by Rwendland (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Timothy Schelhaas

A Savanta ComRes poll of 1,009 people found that a majority of the Welsh public support a pay rise for public service workers.

UNISON Cymru Wales, the largest union in Wales, commissioned the poll. 73 per cent of Welsh people say that after ten years of pay freezes, public service workers deserve a higher pay rise.

Dave Rees, UNISON convenor, said: “Welsh people recognise an injustice when they see one. They know it was NHS staff, care workers, teaching assistants and many more who kept their communities running through Covid.

“Working people are very worried about how increased living costs swallow so much of their wages each month, but politicians just don’t get it.”

51 per cent of Welsh adults would support public service workers going on strike to receive a higher pay rise, while 29 per cent said they would oppose further strikes.

Parts of Wales have recently been affected by bus driver strikes. Arriva bus drivers suspended their strike action after workers in North Wales were sent an improved pay offer.

UNISON’s school and local government members across the UK are currently voting on whether to take industrial action. They have been offered a pay rise of 1.75 per cent.

The Welsh government made a revised offer to NHS Wales workers following a vote of UNISON health members in September, when an original offer was thrown out.

87 per cent voted against an initial offer of a 3 per cent pay rise. The new offer includes a one-off additional payment of 1 per cent for some nurses and doctors, but mainly for non-medical staff.

The offer also includes an additional day’s annual leave for all. UNISON NHS workers are currently voting on whether to accept the revised proposal.

Last week, The Royal College of Nursing Wales published the results of its indicative ballot on the initial offer. More than half of its members who voted supported strike action.

Big boost

Karen Loughlin, UNISON Wales regional secretary, said: “We want politicians in the Senedd and Westminster to reflect on these polling results and recognise they have dropped the ball.

“You don’t reward key workers – the backbone of the nation throughout Covid, with derisory pay offers. You invest in them.”

In October, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said he would put an end to the public sector pay freezes, but offered no guarantee that any increases will be above inflation.

A UNISON press release said that the opinion polling data is a big boost for “thousands of healthcare workers, school support staff and council workers” fighting for a pay rise.

Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,009 Welsh adults between 7 and 18 October of this year. Data were weighted to be representative of Wales by age, gender, region, and social grade.

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