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Wed 27 June 2012

'Pay freeze must thaw' - that's the message from Scotland’s council workers on Fair Pay Day

Local government workers across Scotland are taking part in a day of action today  (Wednesday, June 27th) to mark Fair Pay Day.

Thousands of Scotland's council workers will be calling on their local councils to implement the living wage of £7.20 for all staff - a commitment made by both Labour and the SNP prior to the election - and to put an end to the ongoing pay freeze.

Union members, from UNISON, GMB and Unite, will be marking Fair Pay Day by launching a petition and urging politicians and members of the public to sign up to fair pay for local government workers. There will also be a series of events taking place throughout Scotland, including lunchtime demonstrations, lobbying of local councillors and campaign stalls.

Stephanie Herd, Chair of the Local Government Committee, said: "Local government workers are among the lowest paid in the public sector, with more than 18,000 workers currently paid less than the living wage of £7.20.

"Teaching assistants, care workers, librarians, school catering staff, refuse collectors, street cleaners - they are all struggling to make ends meet and can no longer afford this continued pay cut.

"Employers need to look at the damage they are inflicting on local government workers and realise that the pay freeze must thaw.”

Dougie Black, UNISON Regional Organiser, said: "“The cost of gas, electricity, fuel and food has risen sharply while local government workers' pay has remained the same. This means workers are worse off now than before - it's not a pay freeze, it's a pay cut.

"“The lowest paid are carrying the heaviest burden as they have to spend a higher percentage of their income on heating their homes and feeding their families. But it’s not just a matter of fairness, it also makes economic sense as increased wages would boost local economies.

"The major parties in Scotland made a commitment to the Living Wage prior to the election and we are calling on Scotland’s councils to honour their promise and insist on fairness and decency for their workforce.”


Notes to editors 

1. Fair Pay Day on  June 27th– is part of the ongoing Fair Pay campaign by Scotland's local government trade unions – UNISON, GMB and Unite.

2. More than 18,000 local government workers across Scotland are currently paid below the living wage of £7.20.  

3. Both Labour and the SNP made commitments to a Living Wage of £7.20 prior to the election. These parties are in control, or part of a coalition, in almost all of Scotland's councils.

4. For more information on the Fair Pay Campaign visit http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2012/index.html

5. For more information on the Living Wage visit: http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/e-briefing_ScottishLivingWage_June2012.pdf

For further information please contact:
Stephanie Herd, chair of UNISON's local government committee, on 07989 544 162 
Dougie Black, UNISON's Regional Organiser, on 07958 121 851Trisha Hamilton, UNISON's Communications Officer, on 0141 342 2877 or 07939 478 461