One in ten council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are paid below the living wage, according to an analysis from UNISON released today (Friday).
Ahead of the Living Wage Foundation’s living wage week, UNISON is calling on the government to fund councils so they can become living wage employers. If it did, it would lift more than 60,000 cleaners, library assistants, residential and home care workers and other local authority staff out of poverty, says UNISON.
The new living wage rates are due to be announced next week. They are currently £9.75 an hour in London and £8.45 in the rest of the UK. The bottom hourly rate in local government is £7.78.
UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “Poverty pay should have no place in local government. It is shocking that so many public service workers, who are providing valuable services to communities up and down the country, are paid so little.
“Their work and dedication needs to be recognised. Living wage week is the perfect opportunity for the government to lift staff out of poverty and ensure that work pays fairly.
“Over three-quarters of local government workers are women. Low pay is contributing to the growing gender pay gap.
“The Chancellor must come up with the cash in the Budget to fund a decent, above inflation, pay rise for all public service workers.”
Notes to editors
– The local government workforce figures come from the National Joint Council which includes England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Local government employees in Scotland are paid at least the living wage.
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: firstname.lastname@example.org