Local government pay is an equality issue

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2012 Local Government Service Group Conference
24 February 2012

Conference notes that the myth of the well-rewarded, secure and complacent public sector worker and the reality of local government pay are worlds apart. In 2011, 8% of full-time workers and 38% of part-time workers in local government – a quarter of the workforce – earned less than the Living Wage of £7.20 an hour. Both full-time and part-time hourly earnings in local government are well below those in the public sector as a whole. Thanks to the pay freeze and inflation, typical full-time hourly earnings in local government have sunk back to the levels of the early 1990s. Typical part-time hourly earnings have fallen back to 2002 levels.

Conference expresses its outrage that our hard-working members, delivering vital services to the public, are increasingly living on the edge of poverty.

Conference notes that three quarters of the local government workforce are women, and that Black workers, disabled workers and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers are all more likely to work in local government than in the private sector. Local government pay is an equality issue.

Conference further notes that low paying sectors such as social care have a high proportion of migrant workers and workers from across the equalities groups, including LGBT workers, and congratulates those branches that have undertaken campaigns for the introduction of a Living Wage.

Conference underlines the justice of our NJC trade union side pay claim 2012 – 2013 for a substantial increase on all pay points that recognises the financial hardship being suffered by NJC workers – in particular the lowest paid – as a consequence of inflation and the failure of the Local Government Employers to award £250 to those earning below £21,000, as embodied in Government policy.

Conference calls on the Local Government Service Group Executive to:

1)work with the self-organised groups to highlight the impact of worsening local government pay on different equalities groups, as part of the campaign to recruit more members from these groups of workers, build their support for our strategy, put pressure on the employers and strengthen the hand of our negotiators;

2)work with organisations such as Citizens UK and its regional arms to campaign for a Living Wage for our members, providing guidance and campaign materials to support branches in Living Wage campaigns, including how to reach all potential members.