The following notes were used by Claire McNulty, Housing steward, in her introduction at the pay meeting last week at Northway House
1. Local government workers have suffered an 18% cut in wages since 2010. A pay freeze and eight years of below-inflation pay rises since 1997 mean thousands of local government workers, from across the pay scale, are struggling to make ends meet.
2. Employers forced to increase bottom pay points in pay offer more than 1% to avoid falling below National Minimum Wage – the lowest legal rate.
3. Since 2010 councils have saved a quarter of their staffing costs. Their reserves rose by £2.6 Billion to £19 Billion.
4. The extra £2.6 Billion in 2012 alone would pay for a 10% pay increase.
5. Inflation is predicted to remain 3% during 2014 and increase to 3.4% in 2017. Average gas and electricity prices are due to rise by 8.2% over the coming year.
What impact does low pay and the pay freeze have?
· Smaller family and personal budgets, forcing a cut in people's standard of living.
· Stress on individuals and family life.
· Increased reliance on benefits.
· Less money in the local economy.
· Problems for recruitment and retention of local government staff in vital public sector work.
“We cannot go on forever in a low pay and low productivity world in which all we can say to workers is 'you have got to take a wage cut to keep your job'."
The Guardian, September 2013