Pay freeze is a pay cut says Labour
Calderdale Labour leader, Cllr Tim Swift, has condemned the pay freeze for local government workers agreed at national level this week.
“This was forced through by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, against the opposition of Labour councillors, who argued for a fair and reasonable offer”, he said.
“With inflation on the rise, a pay freeze becomes a pay cut. And that would be a bitter blow locally – especially for the lowest earners.
“We all know that times are hard and that, as councillors, we must seek value for money. However, the majority of our hard-working Calderdale staff are classed as ‘low paid’, and across local government over 70% of staff are women.
“Teachers, doctors, nurses – most other jobs in the public services will receive a pay rise. If you’re a home-help or you work in a school kitchen or a library, it would be deeply unfair to get nothing at all”.
Cllr Swift claimed that, in real terms, a pay freeze would cost a teaching assistant working to support children with special needs in Calderdale about £150 this year.
“The cut in council tax of around £8 or £10 a year proposed by the Tories does nothing to help that family. In fact, if pay is frozen, you could say that staff are being asked to fund a tax cut for everyone else!
“Given the present economic climate, Labour councillors are content to freeze their own allowances. But we will not vote for a council tax reduction that is largely dependent on a real-terms cut in the pay of our own workers”.