Rosie Bartam, a library service advisor in Nottinghamshire, will be on strike tomorrow, as it’s “time we stood up for ourselves”.
Ms Bartram, who has been a UNISON member since starting work for the library service eight years ago, describes the government’s 1% pay offer to local government workers as “an insult”.
“They’ve cut back and back and back,” she says of services, so “we’re doing far more work,” yet in “the last five years, our pay has lost about 20% of its value – and the cost of living keeps rising”.
And she adds that, given that the government knows that vast numbers of local government workers are women – not least in caring jobs – “it’s so discriminatory”.
Daniel Goodwin is a scheduler for Stockport Council highways department and he’ll be striking tomorrow for a very simple reason.
“I’ve seen my pay remain the same for years now – but the cost of living has continued to rise,” he says. ”I’ve had to adjust everything.”
Mr Goodwin says that he “used to be a bit of a food snob – I liked to shop at Sainsbury’s or Tesco for branded foods, but now it has to be Aldi, which saves me £30-£40 a week”.
But at just 24, he’s not just responsible for himself.
“My brother and sister, who are 14 and 16, are dependent on me after my mother died last November.
“And they’re not cheap!” he adds.
As an example, he says that his brother plays football for a local team – something, he notes, that he’s very happy to encourage.
But in only the last couple of weeks, “a letter arrived asking for his signing-on fee – £170. It was £140 last year.”
It’s not difficult to understand exactly why Mr Goodwin can’t afford yet another pay freeze – and why he’s taking strike action tomorrow.