UK’s Tory gov­ern­ment be­hind work poverty

Western Mail - - WM2 -

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

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