One in ten council workers paid below living wage

New analysis has revealed that one in ten council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are paid below the living wage.

UNISON is urging the government, ahead of the Living Wage Foundation’s living wage week, to fund councils so they can become living wage employers and help more than 60,000 cleaners, library assistants, residential and home care workers out of poverty.

The living wage rates are currently £9.75 an hour in London and £8.45 in the rest of the UK, with the bottom hourly rate in local government sitting at £7.78. The new living wage rates are due to be announced next week.

Heather Wakefield, head of local government at UNISON, said: “Poverty pay should have no place in local government. It is shocking that so many public service workers, who are providing valuable services to communities up and down the country, are paid so little.

“Their work and dedication needs to be recognised. Living wage week is the perfect opportunity for the government to lift staff out of poverty and ensure that work pays fairly. Over three-quarters of local government workers are women. Low pay is contributing to the growing gender pay gap. The Chancellor must come up with the cash in the Budget to fund a decent, above inflation, pay rise for all public service workers.”