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Council staff being ‘worked into ground’ due to spending cuts – Unison

Local government workers are increasingly unhappy and stressed as funding cuts mean they face more work and financial difficulties, according to a new Unison survey.

‘Under Pressure, Underfunded and Undervalued’, a survey of 2,200 local government workers, found that 75% of respondents said their workload had increased in the past year, and 46% said they had too much work to do.

In addition, nearly 60% reported frequent staff shortages and 63% said morale had worsened.

Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government, said: “Council staff are being worked into the ground because of government cutbacks.

“If you neglect the people who empty our bins, who support our children and care for our vulnerable relatives then you neglect the services we all depend upon.

 “Everyone suffers if those on the front line are so stressed and undermined they cannot do their jobs properly.”

Stress was a common problem among the local government workforce, with 54% of respondents saying it affected their job performance and 52% saying it affected their personal life.

Unison said that since 2010, local government pay has reduced by 20% in real terms and around half a million jobs have been lost.

Employment was also a major concern in the survey, with 38% of respondents experiencing job losses in their department in the past year and 43% feeling less secure in their jobs. In addition, 59% of respondents had considered leaving their job and 38% of these were actively looking for alternative employment.

Median gross pay for full-time staff was £24,000 (compared to £27,600 across the country as a whole), £11,376 for part-time staff and £11,983 for both full and part-time staff who only work in term time.

Just 29% of respondents thought they were paid fairly for the work they did. Gender discrimination was also a problem, with men who worked full-time earning a medium of £26,304, whereas women earned £23,268.

Just 26% of respondents had experienced an increase in income in the past year, but 70% had experienced an increase in living costs. Furthermore, 42% of respondents had personal debts, of whom 24% owed £10,000 or more.

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