UNISON and Unite held ‘Strike a Chord’ events across the country today, with festive choirs singing well-known Christmas carols with amended lyrics to highlight the state of council pay.
From Northumberland to Liverpool, Swansea to Birmingham, Norfolk to London and Tyneside to Somerset, activists took to the streets in their lunch hours to sing – if not for their supper – then for a decent pay rise.
In London, a choir assembled outside the local government employers’ headquarters to make their case in song.
As one of the revamped carols put it: ”In the bleak midwinter
Council workers’ pay
Won’t buy Christmas presents
There really is no way.
In the bleak midwinter
We’re doing more for less
We want a pound an hour
To end this mess.”
UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “Today, local government workers across England and Wales raised their voices against the injustice of the 18% pay cut they’ve endured since 2010.
“In joyful song, they called for an increase of £1.20 an hour to give half a million local government workers the living wage and to restore pay for the rest.
“I hope the government and the employers were listening.”