Councillors accused of “hypocrisy” over increase to allowances

Councillors at Cambridgeshire County Council and East Cambridgeshire District Council have been accused of hypocrisy after awarding themselves an inflation busting pay rise.

UNISON regional secretary, Chris Jenkinson, condemned the 25% uplift agreed by councillors last week, saying “Town hall staff will simply not understand it when they hear government ministers calling for wage restraint while at the same time local political leaders are lining their own pockets with eye watering pay rises. This behaviour smacks of hypocrisy”.

The pay of local government staff was frozen for two years after the global economic crash in 2008 and has since been capped at a maximum of 1% per year. With prices in the shops rising, the wage cap has seen the value of council pay drop by 21% since 2009.

Mr Jenkinson said “Councillors have an important job in their communities, and are entitled to claim allowances in recognition of the disruption public duties can cause to their lives. But they also need to recognise their responsibilities as leaders in the community and inside the council. I am calling on councillors to think again, recognise the devastating impact this decision will have on staff morale, set the decision to one side and join us campaigning for fair funding and an end to the public sector pay cap.’

UNISON has already submitted a 5% pay claim for their local government members which also includes an uplift in the minimum wage to £8.45 per hour for the lowest paid staff. The union is still waiting for the employers’ representatives to respond.

UNISON is planning a summer of campaign activity to oppose the government’s pay policy and has refused to rule out council staff taking action in support of the pay claim unless they get a fair settlement.

For more information contact:

Chris Jenkinson, regional secretary – Tel 07944 191 821

Jon Hartley regional media contact – Tel 07957 507 317