Socialist Worker

Action is needed to win council workers’ pay rise +Merthyr victory + Dundee carers

Issue No. 2701

Workers can win over pay

Workers can win over pay (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Local government employers in England and Wales last week offered just a 2.75 percent pay rise for over a million workers for 2020-21.

This is well short of the unions’ 10 percent claim.

The LGA employers’ body has asked the government to fund an additional pay increase in addition to its offer.

GMB national secretary Rehana Azam said, “We rejected the initial opening offer of 2 percent as it was woefully low—and that was before the seismic shift caused by coronavirus.

“We will let GMB members have their say on pay.”

Unite’s national officer for local government Jim Kennedy said, “This is a totally unrealistic offer, especially given the current crisis where it is our frontline local authority workers who are protecting our communities and vital services.

“They are caring for our young and our vulnerable elderly, collecting our rubbish, cleaning our streets, and working in our crematoria to ensure dignity for those who have, sadly, fallen victim to this terrible virus.

“The employers say that they will lobby ministers for additional money for pay— and while we will support that call to government, there can be no kicking the can down the road, yet again.”

Getting a decent pay rise from councils and the Tories will take action, not just words.


Workers’ rising wins in Merthyr

Merthyr Tydfil council in south Wales has been forced into a U-turn over its decision to re-open recycling and waste centres.

The move follows protests by the GMB and Unison unions.

The council had decided to start up its sites in Dowlais and Aberfan from Monday this week. But unions said the decision was “reckless and unnecessary”.

The unions said re-opening the sites would encourage the public to breach government guidance on travel and social distancing.

They advised their members not to return to work at the two centres and protested to the council.

The council said, “A decision has now been made not to open our household waste recycling centres.”

Unison regional organiser Steve Belcher said, “We welcome the council’s decision.”


Dundee carers should not pay fees

The Unite union in Scotland has written to Dundee city council leader John Alexander demanding an urgent meeting over the registration fees row facing the city’s care workers.

The local authority has refused to pay the cost of the Scottish Social Services Council registration fee. Instead it intends to impose the costs directly on the low paid care workers, who are predominantly female.

The annual registration fees start at £25 for all support workers and £35 for residential childcare and schoolcare workers.

For social work managers and care inspectors the annual fee is £80. Unite’s members have also raised a collective grievance.

Unite regional industrial officer Bob MacGregor said, “Unite is demanding the city council reverse the decision to impose registration costs on to carers who are presently putting their lives on the line.

“It will be very bitter pill for carers to swallow if they are forced to pay this fee.”


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