Outsourced local government workers took their fight for fair pay to Colchester Council this week.
Grounds maintenance staff working for contractor ID Verde lobbied a cabinet meeting in the city on Wednesday evening as they battle for a pay rise in line with their directly employed colleagues.
UNISON Eastern regional organiser Sam Older told councillors that since last year’s pay rise, ID Verde workers were now around £2,000 worse off than their colleagues.
He asked: “Is the council able to consider a clause in the ID Verde service to ensure that staff employed by ID Verde, seen by the public as council workers doing a really good job, are paid at least the same as the lowest paid directly employed City Council employee?”
Lib Dem Councillor Mark Cory responded, saying ID Verde staff “do the things that make our city shine” and pledging to make sure that the firm was paying the real living wage.
He added that in the long term, the council would consider bringing the service back in house.
UNISON’s Sam Older pointed out that the lowest-paid directly employed staff were now paid more than the real living wage, council leader Mark King said: “You’ve been too successful in your past pay bargaining, so you’ve created a challenge for us.”
Councillors promised to go away and talk to ID Verde about raising pay.
After the meeting, Sam Older said: “It’s good to hear that councillors appreciate the work ID Verde staff do to bring tourism to the city and make it a beautiful place to live.
“But as they also recognised, fine words won’t pay the bills. We will continue to push ID Verde to pay its staff in Colchester fairly.”