Campaign for Fair Pay and
a Living Wage
Local Government Conference threw its wage behind a
wide ranging strategy to challenge pay restraint, reject
regional pay and campaign for fair pay and a living
wage of £7.20 an hour.
A series of motions and composites deplored the attacks
on public sector pay and their impact on women, the low
paid and the equalities agenda.
Aberdeenshire's Kate Ramsden told delegates that a living
wage was crucial to ensuring that all members get a wage
they can survive on, and the Fair Pay Campaign in Scotland
would campaign for all councils to introduce this.
"In Aberdeenshire we have just negotiated the Living
Wage. But that should be in place for all members, wherever
they work and whoever they work for," she said.
In her first speech to Conference, Brenda Aitchison
from South Lanarkshire told of the increasing poverty
faced by low paid members in her branch - the working
She slammed the widening gap between the rich and the
"Poll after poll tell us that people know that Cameron,
Osbourne and Clegg, the Chipping Norton Set, have no
idea what life is like for working people.
"It is our job in the trade union movement to galvanise
our people and the wider community to fight back," said
South Lanarkshire's Stephen Smellie said
that the refusal of the Scottish Joint Council to agree
Living Wage at a Scottish level has lead to
branches engaging in negotiations at local level.
to a number of successes in Glasgow and other councils,
Stephen said, "With the Manifesto commitments of both
Labour and the SNP as a result of our political campaigning,
are hopeful that by next year all councils in Scotland
will be Living Wage employers."
He warned, however, that this has pushed
us into local pay bargaining which could lead to a weakening
of national pay bargaining. UNISON
in Scotland is continuing to seek
a national agreement on the Living Wage which would consolidate
the local agreements into
a national pay structure.
"It is crucial that we step up national campaigns
and reject regional pay and local pay bargaining," he said.
Stephanie Herd, Chair of the Scottish Local
Government Committee, gave a presentation on Scotland's
Fair Pay Campaign which is calling for a £1000 flat rate
increase and a Living Wage in all councils of £7.20.
She told conference that the cost of a living
wage is affordable and achievable if two thirds of all
local councillors remember their election promises.
"We know that proper investment in the workforce
improves the lives of low paid workers and their families
- that's the moral argument won!" said Stephanie.
"But it also pays dividends for employers
in improved productivity, reduced absenteeism and reduced
recruitment costs through improved retention. Benefits
that can help employers offset the cost of introducing
a Living Wage.
"Politicians and our employers know the value
of the services we provide. What they don't acknowledge
is the worth of the workforce.
"Our campaign highlights the
need to pay all workers a decent legal wage. It's a fight
we need to win for our low paid members."