Pay freeze battle is just starting, council warned
THE fight against a pay freeze at Nottingham City Council is just beginning, according to a union representative.
Around 40 people braved the cold outside the council's offices in Loxley House to call on the council to lift the pay freeze.
Campaigners warned that not increasing wages in the face of a rise in the cost of living was forcing some employees into poverty.
Chris Needham, GMB representative for Nottingham, said the protest was "just the beginning" and they would continue in the New Year.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
He said: "We are here to fight against this continued attack on the lowest paid workers by the officers and politicians at Nottingham City Council.
"The pay freeze has gone on too long and is having a damaging effect on livelihoods – no pay increase at a time of inflation is, in effect, a pay cut.
"The council should be supporting our cause for pay increases and not just accepting the smaller settlements from Government. We need them to stand up to the coalition."
Mr Needham added he wanted to see the council pay the £250 lump sum which was promised to low-paid workers by George Osborne in the 2010 budget.
He added: "This money was promised and has not yet been delivered.
"Other councils like Ashfield and Gedling have found the funds and it's time for Nottingham City to do the same."
The campaigners were also keen to see the authority introduce a living wage for all staff members.
This would mean staff would get paid at least £7.45 an hour, compared to a national minimum wage of £6.19.
Jean Thorpe, co-chairman of Nottingham Unison, said: "When you consider energy companies are increasing cost of utilities by up to 10 per cent, the case for a pay increase becomes clearer.
"People are finding it harder to get by and the chance of council employees needing food banks to survive is increasing."
And Paul Martin, joint secretary of Notts Trades Union Council, said: "If this Labour council won't support the lowest paid workers, who will?
"The council should be standing up to the Government and saying this is not good enough – it's not acceptable for them to do anything else."
The council has defended its position, saying that maintaining services and jobs has to be the priority.
Councillor Jon Collins, city council leader, said: "Following Government cuts, we have seen a real terms reduction in the council's budget of £27 million this year while we face a further £23 million reduction next year, potentially rising to £40 million the year after.
"The freeze in incremental pay rises has saved 150 jobs since 2011. Continuing it next year would help protect upwards of 100 jobs.
"We're taking steps towards implementing the Living Wage to support the lowest paid staff and will be discussing this further with the trade unions."