Leader of Stockport MBC Cllr Alex Ganotis has joined over ninety Labour Council leaders from across the UK, who have written to the Chancellor demanding the Government fully fund a fair pay rise for Council staff.
The letter calls for an end to the public sector pay cap, and demands a guarantee from the Chancellor that the Government will fully fund the 2% pay offer made to Council staff by the National Employers for Local Government Services this week.
The letter notes that Local Government workers have suffered real-terms pay reductions since 2010 which, combined with increases to the cost of living, mean they’ve lost the equivalent of £1 in every £5 they previously earned. This has led to recruitment and retention crises across Local Authorities, 71 percent of which report problems finding and retaining the right staff.
This follows on from a motion brought by Stockport’s Labour Group to SMBC’s Full Council meeting in September, calling for an end to the public sector pay cap and for funding for this to be found by government, on top of and in addition to more money for hard-pressed services.
Commenting, Cllr Ganotis said:
“As Council Leader, I am sharply aware of the hard work and dedication of SMBC staff in delivering valued services upon which everyone- particularly the vulnerable, rely.
“As with many other Local Authorities up and down the land, our staff have been charged with steering the Council through exceptionally challenging times, facing the need to transform and reform services in the face of fewer resources.
“As part of this we have lost a quarter of our workforce, meaning staff are expected to do more, with less money and personnel.
“Our staff have risen to this challenge with dedication and skill. Yet, by way of reward, Local Government has seen the largest pay cut of any part of the public sector.
“Put simply – we cannot continue to deliver the quality services our residents deserve if we reward staff by paying them less each year.
“For these reasons I have joined Labour leaders from across the country in writing to the Chancellor demanding the pay cap is formally lifted, that this is fully funded by Government, and the £5.8bn gap in funding councils face by 2020 is urgently addressed.”
Andrew Gwynne MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said:
“Labour leaders in Local Government have worked tirelessly to urge the Government to scrap the 1 per cent pay cap and provide funding to give public sector workers the pay rise they deserve.
“Local government workers provide an important and essential service to the public, but for years they have seen their pay held back by this Government in the name of austerity.
“Given the Tories’ harsh cuts to authority budgets, it is vital that additional funding is provided to back up this pledge, to avoid simply placing extra burden on already over-strained budgets.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
- National Employers for Local Government Services offer to unions
On Tuesday 5th December 2017 the National Employers for Local Government Services offered council employees a two-year pay increase from 1 April 2018. The majority of employees – those on salaries starting at £19,430 per annum – would receive an uplift of 2 per cent on 1 April 2018 and a further 2 per cent on 1 April 2019, with those on lower salaries receiving higher increases. The offer also includes the introduction of a new national pay spine on 1 April 2019. The National Employers, who negotiate pay on behalf of 350 local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, made the offer to unions. It will affect over 1 million employees across the country.
- Full text of the letter to the Chancellor:
As Labour council leaders we run councils that employ hundreds of thousands of hard-working staff who are delivering vital public services to the British public. We rely on our workforce to keep our children safe, offer support to vulnerable elderly and disabled people, and to staff the services we all use – such as children’s centres, parks, and libraries.
With the cost of living rising by 22.6% since 2010, local government workers have lost the equivalent of £1 of every £5 they earned before and are now the lowest paid in the public sector. Women, who make up 78% of the local government workforce, are bearing the brunt.
Our ability to offer the sort of pay rise our workers deserve is severely restrained by the cuts you have forced on local councils. Core funding to local government will have been slashed by an astonishing 77%, with the cross-party Local Government Association estimating a funding gap of £5.8bn by 2020. It is vital that you take the opportunity of the Local Government Finance Settlement to ensure we have the resources to give our staff a fair rise.
Therefore as Labour Council leaders we are calling on you to:
– Lift the 1% pay cap on public sector workers, including for workers in local government
– Guarantee that a pay rise for local government workers will be fully funded by central government
– Urgently address the £5.8bn gap in funding that councils face by 2020
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you.
With Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of the LGA Labour Group, and 89 other Labour council leaders. A full list of the signatories can be found here.