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Unison's Living Wage call to Carmarthenshire politicians

By Nick_Parry  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

Kevin Madge

Council leader Kevin Madge

Comments (10)

A UNION says it will publicise the names of senior politicians who back its campaign for a pay rise for the 2,800 lowest paid council workers in Carmarthenshire — and those who don't.

This week Unison has written to all the county's AMs, MPs and Euro MPs.

It is asking them to sign a petition demanding Carmarthenshire Council pays all its staff what it calls a 'Living Wage' of £7.45 an hour, rather than the minimum wage, currently set at £6.19 an hour.

County council leaders say while they would like to introduce the pay rise they cannot afford it without extra funds from central government.

Council leader Kevin Madge has repeatedly said it would cost £1.75 million to introduce at a time when the authority had seen its budget cut in real terms.

He said without extra funding it would mean cutting services or around 80 jobs.

But council leaders in neighbouring Swansea have said they will introduce the 'living wage'.

Unison branch secretary for Carmarthenshire Mark Evans has written to all the county's senior politicians offering to meet with them and have publicity photographs of them signing the union's petition.

But he has warned them the union will also publicise those that do not.

He said: "The excuse for paying wages that keep our members in poverty is that the implementation of a living wage would cost £1.75m to implement the equivalent of over 80 job losses.

"This one-sided argument does not take into account the potential cost benefits of implementing a living wage for the council."

He said many big businesses back the move and said there was research that showed it would improve motivation and performance of staff, reduce absentee rates, offsetting the cost.

Mr Evans added: "How can it be that big business sees the material benefit of implementing the living wage but a Labour council does not?"

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10 comments

  • cymroun  |  February 16 2013, 5:50PM

    Unions campaining for a living wage, the council saying they can't afford it without money from central government and in the same week the duke and duchess of cambridge are on holiday in mystique costing the british taxpayer a reported £19,000, what a country we live in !!!!!!!

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  • Neathboy234  |  February 15 2013, 4:36PM

    dangermouse2 i agree.

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  • dangermouse2  |  February 15 2013, 4:24PM

    And while they're at it pay School support staff for school holidays just like you do for teachers. Level 1 get paid below Living wage per hour and only for around 44/45 weeks of the year. what are they meant to dso for the other 7/8 weeks of the year to get by. Have you treid getting a job for only 7/8 sporadic weeks throughout the year to make up the shortfall in income to breech the gap.

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  • dangermouse2  |  February 15 2013, 4:23PM

    And while they're at it pay School support staff for school holidays just like you do for teachers. Level 1 get paid below Living wage per hour and only for around 44/45 weeks of the year. what are they meant to dso for the other 7/8 weeks of the year to get by. Have you treid getting a job for only 7/8 sporadic weeks throughout the year to breech th egap.

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  • Neathboy234  |  February 15 2013, 3:52PM

    It is true there is a lot of money around for the rich. I was reading only this week that the average person will have to wait until 2023 to get back to where they were in 2008. In this area i think it will take a lot longer. We do need to see an increase in the min wage, if only to stop taxpayers like myself from subsidizing bad employers

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  • weslangdon  |  February 15 2013, 3:20PM

    The public sector is often attacked; e.g. the NHS has been targeted by the SWEP this week but I would argue that virtually everything the public sector does is necessary. This is not an argument that holds good for the private sector which is more than happy to sell you some gadget you don't need or will ever use, or topically feed you with "fake" food at the price of real food or pay you so low a wage you can't live without a tax credit or some other hand-out. The private sector is held up as the solution to our problems yet so much of it is utterly dependant on public spending. Road and rail contracts feed the civil engineering industry, defence spending feeds the weapons manufacturers, NHS spending fills the coffers of the pharmaceutical companies and there are literaly thousands of other examples where public spending, our taxes, are used to feed private profit [and as often as not poor pay too]

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  • tellyon  |  February 15 2013, 2:56PM

    There is plenty of money out there for the very richest. Huge tax dodges, and vast amount -£750 billion- in corporate reserves at the moment. Not to mention the bonusses and obscene salaries. Apparently if we don't make the rich richer they won't invest. It seems simple ABC economics: TAKE wealth from the rich 1% and the big corporations. Put a levy on the corporate reserves and use that money to create work, build council homes and pay workers a decent wage. Then those ordinary working class people (the 99%) will spend their wages in their local communities. Unfortunately, Labour are a cowardly party for the bosses and only 'talk' about being on the side of workers. We all know they fall on their knees before the bosses, bankers and bond-holders. Utterly shameful. We need an alternative to this broken capitalist system. We need to get up off our knees and stand up and fight back. We need genuine socialist policies not New Labour Bull***t.

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  • tellyon  |  February 15 2013, 2:41PM

    There seems to be plenty of money out there for the very rich people at the top. Give low paid workers a decent wage and they will spend it in their own community. Make the richest people pay for it... not such a difficult concept is it? This is simple ABC economics that only those who fall on their knees before the super rich refuse to understand. Cowardly Labour, get off your knees, rise up. Or move aside for those who will.

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  • weslangdon  |  February 15 2013, 11:28AM

    Labour Local Authorities have a duty to protect the poorest in the community this includes their poorest paid staff. If they have the power to do something about it they MUST do something about it. If they don't then a comparison with rapacious super markets that pay minimum wage to their part time staff is too close for comfort

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  • Neathboy234  |  February 15 2013, 10:53AM

    I don't think it's up to local councils to introduce the living wage, it's up to Westminster to raise the min wage. Something Labour should put in their manifesto for 2015.

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