Workforce, Pensions and Training

03.11.17

‘Shocking’ figures reveal that one in 10 council workers receive below living wage

One in every 10 council workers are receiving a salary that is below the national living wage according to UNISON.

The public workers union has called on the government to increase council funding to a level where every worker can receive a living wage.

This news comes ahead of the announcement of a new minimum living wage, expected to be revealed by the Living Wage Foundation next week.

UNISON says an increase in wages to account for this national standard could lift up to 60,000 public sector workers out of poverty.

The current living wage rates are set at £9.75 an hour in London and £8.45 in the rest of the UK. The bottom hourly rate in local government is only £7.78.

Heather Wakefield, head of local government at UNISON, called lower rates “poverty pay” and said such wages had no place in local government

She added: “It is shocking that so many public service workers, who are providing valuable services to communities up and down the country, are paid so little.

“Their work and dedication need to be recognised. Living wage week is the perfect opportunity for the government to lift staff out of poverty and ensure that work pays fairly. Over three-quarters of local government workers are women. Low pay is contributing to the growing gender pay gap.”

The union urged chancellor Philip Hammond to find funds in the upcoming Autumn Budget to deal with the situation and provide an above inflation pay rise for UK public sector employees.

Introducing the living wage has been greeted with issues across some local authorities, with care costs specifically spiking despite no major rise in funding and numerous cuts to central grants.

The Living Wage Foundation has its national living wage week starting from this Sunday.

Top image: Serdjo photo

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