Unions and council leader join calls for 10 per cent Leeds council staff pay rise

The leader of Leeds City Council has backed a dramatic call for the government to fund a 10 per cent increase in all council workers’ pay next year.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 6:01 pm

Coun Judith Blake has supported proposals sent by Unison, GMB and Unite trade unions to central government (which sets pay levels for council workers) asking for a 10 per cent “uplift” on all pay levels, as well as a minimum wage of £10 per hour.

Coun Blake also put out a joint statement with the unions, claiming that pay has fallen “by 22 per cent of its value” for most council workers in the city.

She said: “We are committed to tackling the scourge of low pay in Leeds, but government cuts mean most council workers have seen pay fall by over a fifth since 2010.

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Unions believe now is the time for the government to fund a council staff pay rise.

“We are issuing a joint statement with the trade unions as council workers provide a huge number of vital services for the city of Leeds and it’s important they receive fair pay in return.

“The council has seen its budget cut by £266m over the last decade, so we are calling on the government to fund the increase and ensure workers receive the pay they deserve.”

A joint statement issued by Coun Blake along with the Unison, GMB and Unite trade unions reads: “The professionalism and dedication of council workers should be valued and recognised through fair pay. Despite Leeds City Council increasing pay for its lowest paid staff to the Living Wage Foundation rate, huge cuts by central government to the council’s budget has seen pay fall by 22 per cent of its value for the majority of council workers since 2010.

“These are council workers who provide vital services to the city of Leeds, including keeping communities clean, looking after those in need, and keeping the city running. Without those workers, many services that residents rely on would not be delivered.

“We therefore support the pay claim submitted by GMB, Unison and Unite on behalf of council and school workers for a £10 an hour minimum wage, a 10 per cent uplift across all other pay points in 2020/21, as well as a two-hour reduction in the standard working week and an extra day’s annual leave.

“We recognise that continuing cuts to the council’s budget means extra government funding is essential to enable us to implement the pay claim. We therefore call on central Government to provide new money to fund the pay claim in full and ensure council workers receive the pay they deserve.”

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for a comment.