UK’s Tory government behind work poverty
YESTERDAY a Plaid Cymru Assembly Member wrote to the Western Mail to demand a significant pay rise for all publicsector workers. Heaven knows, after seven years of pay cap or freezes, it is desperately needed.
Thank you then to Sian Gwenllian and Plaid Cymru for supporting Unison’s campaign to end the pay cap. With Labour and the SNP, there are now three parties lined up against the Westminster government’s position. Theresa May seems as wedded to cutting spending on public services and its workforce as her Tory predecessors and is increasingly out of touch with the public mood.
The Plaid letter took aim at Welsh Government for not breaking the pay cap for public service workers itself. Certainly, our Cardiff Bay government is guilty of not doing enough to lift council workers out of in-work poverty and we have complained the Finance Minister should have provided additional funds to local authorities to ensure no-one is paid less than the Foundation Living Wage.
However, Plaid Cymru’s assertion that “public-sector pay is largely devolved” to Wales is wrong and risks taking the pressure off the real culprits, the Westminster Tories. The largest group of public service workers, for instance, is based in local government, which is bargained at a UK level excluding Scotland.
Yes, criticise the Welsh Government when it deserves it but let’s have a united front in Wales to show it is the UK Conservatives’ austerity that has damaged communities in Wales. Welsh councils have been robbed of huge sums of money by London, and as a result vital services are disappearing. The UK government is also to blame for Welsh public service workers losing the equivalent of a fifth of their salaries since 2010. That’s why we are calling on Theresa May to Pay Up Now! Dominic MacAskill UNISON Cymru Wales, head of local government