Lancashire Labour County Councillors Azhar Ali and Julie Gibson are leading calls to support a pay claim for local government workers at the Full Council meeting on 17th October. They will ask the Council to support a motion that recognises and rewards the hard work performed by staff against a backdrop of austerity and cuts from the current Conservative government.
Cllr Ali, proposer of the motion said: “Our Council staff have borne the brunt of austerity since it was introduced by the coalition government of 2010. Across the UK, local government has endured central government cuts of nearly 50% since 2010, and it is estimated that 876,000 jobs have been lost in the sector during that time (figs from NJC submission to LGA pay claim 2020/2021). Local Government has been hit by more severe job losses than any other part of the public sector.”
Cllr Gibson echoed her colleagues concerns: “These staff are the ones that fill the potholes, that look after our elderly and residential clients, that provide school meals to our children and support staff in schools, and other essential services in our communities. They have seen their pay eroded and yet their workload has doubled, leading to a “long hours” culture, a loss of morale, increasing staff turnover and in some circumstances sickness and stress related issues.”
She continued: “We are acutely aware that Councils across the country, and Lancashire is a particular case, are having to make difficult decisions on a daily basis, but these workers are not responsible for the global financial crisis; responsibility for this has to lie with the Conservative Government over their failure to provide adequate funding for councils and communities that they provide for.”
Cllr Ali and Gibson concluded: “Paying staff properly makes economic sense as it is an investment both in local services and the local economy. We cannot keep asking staff to deliver more whilst at the same time seeing their pay eroded and their conditions undermined. Our staff deserve a pay rise and we will be calling on the Conservative Government to give us the money to ensure that they get one.”