Unite challenge Wrexham Council: “step up, stop hiding behind the national pay body and negotiate locally with us”
Unite members at both Wrexham and Cardiff Councils will resume their continuous strike action for a further three-week period from Monday.
In what they described as an “escalation of the industrial action”, Unite members will strike from 25th September to 15th October. Unite members at the two councils have previously undertaken two weeks of strike action from September 4th – September 17th.
Unite say members have “overwhelmingly rejected the local authority employers’ pay offer of just £1,925, a poorer offer than last year and a real terms pay cut, many Unite members within Welsh Local Authorities work for a wage that is barely above the national minimum wage”.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham added: “After enduring years of wage stagnation our members in Cardiff and Wrexham Councils are determined to fight for a better deal. The political leadership in these councils need to step up, stop hiding behind the national pay body and negotiate locally with us. Unite will be providing our members with its complete support during their strike action”.
“Local authority workers in Wales have seen real terms pay cuts of around 20 per cent over the past decade. Unite research has found that many are having to resort to food banks to support their families. The strike action will have a major impact on refuse collections and recycling centres in both Cardiff and Wrexham, in particular. Councils are not legally bound to follow the local government pay increase and can pay a higher rate to workers if they wish to do so.”
Peter Hughes, Unite Wales Regional Secretary said; “Welsh Local Authority workers have seen their pay decimated in recent years. Despite this, council leaders think it’s acceptable to propose what amounts to a real terms pay cut, when workers increasingly can’t make ends meet.”
“There has been silence from local authority employers during this strike action. Our members are not backing down and we will now escalate the industrial action until local authorities start negotiating with us.”
Yesterday Wrexham Council said, “Unite members in Wrexham are striking as part of the NJC national pay dispute.
“Pay for council employees is negotiated at a national level between the three trade unions – Unite, GMB and Unison – and the Welsh Local Government Association, as well as the UK Local Government Association.
“Wrexham is committed to working with trade unions, but has made it clear that any negotiations have to take place at a national level under the normal collective bargaining arrangements.
“Wrexham Council cannot negotiate with Unite on this national pay matter. ”
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