End Support For Pay Freezes

15 Feb 2013

GMB last month launched a campaign to win a living wage of £7.45ph (£8.55ph in London) for 280,000 low paid workers in councils across England and Wales.

GMB, the union for public services, commented on the announcement today that Labour will go into next election promising to introduce a 10p tax rate and will seek to reverse falls in living standards. This co-incides with a GMB round-up which shows that the number of councils in England and Wales now paying or committed to pay a living wage has risen to 37. All 32 councils in Scotland now pay or are committed to pay a living wage.

Recent additions are Barking and Dagenham (£9 per hour minimum), Deal, Greenwich and Harrow. This is in addition to Ashfield, Blackpool, Birmingham, Brent, Brighton & Hove, Calderdale, Camden, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chorley, Croydon, Dartford, Derby City, Ealing, Enfield, Gloucester City, Hackney, Hounslow, Hyndburn, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newark & Sherwood, Newcastle, Norwich, Oxford City, Preston, Sheffield, Southwark, Swansea, Wirral, Wolverhampton and York.

GMB has secured the support of Labour leader Ed Miliband for higher pay for low paid council staff. Typical council jobs which pay £6.30/£6.38ph are home helps, school dinner staff, teaching assistants, cleaners, grave diggers, admin assistants, sure-start workers, refuse staff, caretakers, meals on wheels staff, care workers and school crossing patrols.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said   “GMB welcome Ed Miliband announcing today that Labour Party deplores the falls in real living standards under this government and him saying that people need higher incomes to support economic growth. His bold vision of fighting the next election by pledging to improve living standards is great news. But it needs to be pointed out that such a view is incompatible with the Labour leaderships’ previous support for the public sector pay freeze.

Probably the most significant contributor to the wage stagnation he so obviously deplored has been the freeze on pay of over 6 million public sector workers. In the past both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have said they support public sector pay restraint to the dismay of low paid GMB members like school dinner ladies, refuse collectors, street cleaners, hospital porters and school classroom assistants. We now look forward to both Eds making it clear that as part of the drive to improve living standards they will no longer support the public sector pay freeze. They should commend Labour councils now paying or committed to pay a living wage.”