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Unions issue joint call for living wage

Britain's three biggest unions have joined forces to fight for the living wage

Britain's three biggest unions have joined forces to fight for the living wage for 1.6 million local government workers.

GMB, Unison and Unite are calling for a minimum increase of £1 an hour for the lowest-paid workers.

The unions are also calling for the same increase for all other staff.

They warn that half a million local government workers are paid less than a living wage and highlight that politicians from all parties recently called for action to deal with low pay, encouraging local authorities to pay the hourly minimum needed to achieve a basic standard of living - £8.55 in London and £7.45 elsewhere.

Unison head of local government Heather Wakefield said: "Politicians have been right to call recently for action on low pay to end the hardship facing those on poverty wages and to boost demand in the economy."

Unite national officer for local authorities Fiona Farmer highlighted that those on poverty pay include hundreds of thousands of local government workers.

She said: "Low pay and poverty pay are endemic in local government with too many members now reliant on food banks and payday loan companies."

Ms Farmer stressed that members are only asking for a fair pay settlement that compensates them for the 16 per cent they have lost in real earnings since 2008.

GMB national secretary Brian Strutton added: "One and a half million council workers have seen their living standards cut by 18 per cent and 400,000 of their colleagues lose their jobs.

"I don't believe any section of the economy has taken such an austerity hit."


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