UNISON’S Carmarthenshire Branch Secretary Mark Evans has said that staff employed by Carmarthenshire County Council are unhappy with the latest pay offer.
Mr. Evans said: “After a long time of dithering and time wasting the employers (Local Government Association (LGA)) have offered council workers an increased pay offer of …… wait for it a measly 0.25% taking the offer to magnificent 1.75%!”
“This represents another pay cut given that inflation is predicted to be near 4% by the end of the year. This comes on top of a reduction in the real value of our pay of around 25% in the last ten years. Council workers can’t afford to see their living standards to drop even further particularly given the sacrifice and dedication all council workers have shown throughout the pandemic.”
The Branch Secretary has repeated the message other politicians have been uttering over the last 12 months and said: “The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of council services and the vital role of all council workers in keeping those services running. But a clap from the Tories (on their doorsteps) has transformed into a slap. This was unfortunately predictable as has been the attempts of the Tories to divide and rule public sector workers by offering different pay offers or in some cases pay freezes. Also, the Tories have attempted to pit private sector workers against public sector.”
Mr. Evans is also calling for joined up action from other unions and a possible national demonstration in Wales. He said: “In our branch we have always explained to our members that we need to rely on our own strength and that of other unions to fight for our pay claim. Health workers have only been offered 3%, with a pay freeze for many teachers and other public sector unions have been offered insulting offers. We and other Unison Local authority branches will now conduct a consultative ballot with Unison’s NJC and our branch recommending rejection of this final insulting offer.
“We think there is scope for Unison to organise different sectors of the union like health and local government to act together and for the public sector unions to take organised coordinated strike action together coordinated by Trades Union Congress (TUC). The Wales TUC should start by calling a national demonstration in Wales in favour of the unions pay claims to build for industrial action. In local government in Wales and the rest of UK despite the difficulties of Covid effort must be concentrated on building for action and persuading members of the need for strike action rather than trying to persuade the employers to agree to lobby the Tories. Despite their majority this is a weak Tory government that has about faced many times under pressure. Imagine the pressure of millions of public sector workers taking strike action together. This isn’t just about pay important as this by taking action we will be giving a warning to the Tories that they should not cut council services and jobs that are so vital to our communities.”