UNISON members travelled from Birmingham to Downing Street this morning to call for fair pay for local government workers.
They delivered a letter calling for £10 per hour minimum wage and a 10% pay rise across all other pay points in 2020/21.
Joined by Birmingham MPs Jack Dromey, Liam Byrne, and Birmingham city council leader Ian Ward, representatives from the UNISON Birmingham branch and colleagues from the GMB and Unite delivered the letter on behalf of council and school workers in the city.
The three unions submitted a joint national pay claim in July for the pay rise as part of negotiations with employers for for the next pay round, due to be paid in April 2020.
“Some of our members are using food banks,”said branch secretary Caroline Johnson. “That’s not acceptable. If you do a day’s work you should be paid fairly for that. We can’t stand by as local government workers are having to rely on food banks to keep going”
Birmingham branch secretary Caroline Johnson and assistant branch secretary Carol Garfield stand outside 10 Downing Street with Birmingham city council leader Ian Ward.
Birmingham council agreed the pay claim motion in September, and is now joining forces with unions to ask central government to fund it.
Council workers have borne the consequences of almost a decade of public spending cuts, but with the government adamant that austerity is over, it is now time to end years of local government pay restraint.
Council leader Ian Ward said: “Increasingly local government staff are struggling to make ends meet.
“For Birmingham’s local government staff to have to turn to food banks is an absolute disgrace in a first world nation in the 21st century. The government needs to bring it to an end by funding a realistic pay increase for local government staff.
“Local government staff up and down the country have suffered a 22% cut in real terms in their pay since 2009.
“And since then, 900,000 local government staff have lost their jobs. So staff today are having to work twice as hard as they were ten years ago.
“An increase in pay that redresses the cut that local government workers have suffered in the last ten years is long overdue, and we’re calling on the government to fund that pay increase.”