East of England council workers rally for more pay

Council workers from the East of England lobbied local government chiefs in Bury St Edmunds today, calling for a real pay rise after a decade of austerity.

Since 2009, council and school workers’ real-terms pay has dropped by 22%. UNISON, GMB and Unite submitted a pay claim last summer, asking for a 10% rise and minimum wage of £10 an hour.

The Local Government Association offered just 2% then announced it would launch consultative meetings across England, Scotland and Wales when unions rejected the 2%.

UNISON lobbied the East of England LGA meeting at West Suffolk House today, asking employers to bring a better offer to the table and lobby the Treasury for more money in this week’s Budget.

UNISON Eastern head of local government Sam Leigh said: “Council staff run vital local services at the heart of communities. Despite taking a battering from cuts and redundancies, they’ve kept the East of England going.

“It’s high time teaching assistants, care workers, librarians and park keepers were rewarded for their heroic efforts during the difficult decade of austerity. Their employers must come back with a better offer.

“The chancellor can make this a post-austerity Budget by giving councils the cash they need to fund a proper pay rise. Otherwise experienced staff will be lost as they seek better paid work elsewhere and there’ll be barely anyone left to deliver local services.”

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