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Fresh battle for Living Wage for all Gloucestershire County Council

By citizenmike  |  Posted: February 24, 2014

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Councillor Lesley Williams, leader of the Labour group on Gloucestershire County Council

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INTRODUCING the Living Wage for Shire Hall employees would be ‘one small step for the county council and one giant leap for people in Gloucestershire’.

Lesley Williams, Labour’s leader on Gloucestershire County Council, will use a crucial budget meeting tomorrow to make an impassioned plea to see through a wage rise for 119 Gloucestershire County Council employees who do not currently receive £7.65 per hour – recognised as the Living Wage.

She hopes the move would inspire other Gloucestershire firms to follow the council’s lead.

The move would cost the council £210,826 per year. of those that would benefit, 21 work in administrative roles and 98 are in manual roles, 49 of whom work in Gloucestershire Industrial Services Healthcare employed as workshop operators.

One of the workers, Julie Davis, from Coleford, said: “This would be great for me. The cost of living has gone up in recent years, but the wages haven’t.

“A few years ago me and my husband would have been able to go out for a drink on Saturday after a long week at work but now we can’t even afford to do that. We’ve had to cut out any luxuries.”

Councillor Williams said: “Introducing the Living Wage is one of Labour’s key manifesto commitments that we are determined to achieve.

“We want to encourage more employers to pay their staff the Living Wage, but before we can do this it is vital that the county council sets the standard by paying its own staff a Living Wage.

“It is affordable and will help make Gloucestershire a fairer place to live. It is one small step but a giant leap which will make a big difference to people’s lives.

“Tackling low wages is a key component of solving the cost of living crisis and building a fair economy.

“Many people who are paid the minimum wage struggle to make ends meet and for many people living on the minimum wage, work simply does not pay for them.”

LABOUR'S OTHER BUDGET DEMANDS

1. Travel cards for children in care and care leavers: There are currently 118 post-16 children in care and 320 care leavers aged from 16 to 24. Offer £200 to cover travel on county’s buses. Cost: £100,000

2. Travel cards for first year apprentices aged up to 24, worth up to £200. Cost: £350,000

3. Cut the Active Together budget: Removing £10,000 from each councillor’s fund for health project and healthy living campaigns and redistributing the rest of the money to the areas that need it most, rather than an equal distribution. Saving: £530,000

4. The creation of a new Community Empowerment Chest would provide grants, of up to £5,000 per bid, to Gloucestershire’s community start ups, community enterprises and voluntary and charity organisations to kick start, develop or improve the services they provide. Cost: £100,000

5. Labour wants to protect children centres from funding cuts, no matter how small, and will amend the budget to ensure that they will not receive a three per cent cut to their funding. Cost: Not yet known

6. A new fund to be used by Gloucestershire’s 42 secondary schools to provide 16 to 18 year olds that are on free school meals and in education or training with funds to buy work clothing, tools or books in order to help them find employment, and apprenticeship or vocational training. Cost: £50,000

7. The county’s fire service should be measured on how many home safety visits, business safety visits and community ‘interactions’ it completes. The rationale behind this is to ensure that prevention is given prominence as much as action.

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5 comments

  • uk_socrates  |  February 26 2014, 9:44AM

    @RoadWombat thanks. I agree with all your points.

    |   1
  • RoadWombat  |  February 25 2014, 5:09PM

    Well said, Socrates. Things like "Active Together" and "Community Empowerment", are prime example of council meddling and attempts at social engineering. The idea of cuts is to make a council focus on the core services they are mandated to supply, and to strip out the irrelevant - charities and voluntary groups must stand on their own two feet (that's why they're charities and voluntary!). There is plenty of money there for good schools, good roads etc. as soon as councils remember what they are mandated to do, and do that only. In the same vein, if they strip out the 'non-jobs' in these irrelevant areas, they can pay the proper workers in useful jobs a decent wage.

    |   2
  • uk_socrates  |  February 25 2014, 10:15AM

    Although its admirable to push for a "living wage", I would love to see Labour attack more non-jobs at £50k a year!!!!. Scrap some of these non-jobs and I am in favor of those at the lower end being paid a bit more. That said, most public sector workers do at least enjoy full-time contracts!. What about people who work minimum wage at hotels, fast-food outlets, and restaurants that don't even have full-time contracts, they are stuck on zero-hour contracts! Also cut the "Active Together budget" all together. (Sounds like a complete waste of money, if people want to loose weight, go for a walk or a jog, its free!) 16 and 18 year old's can get a part-time job!. If anything a part-time job in retail, fast-food/restaurant or hotels will spur them on to do even better in their exams! Plus they can **EARN** a bit of money in the process. Scrap Community Empowerment Chest, its sounds like a waste of time. We don't need any more charity/voluntary/community organisations. Village halls and community centers are relatively cheap to hire for an evening anyway!. Also social media is free to use, it doesn't cost anything to set up a new Facebook event/page or create some new Twitter account for some new charity/voluntary organisation/community project etc. (Social media can be particularly useful if your looking for volunteers). The apprenticeship scheme isn't a terrible idea, personally I think central government should fund the entire cost of apprenticeships. (Which isn't actually that much, roughly £130 a week per an apprenticeship).

    |   6
  • The_Selector  |  February 25 2014, 9:55AM

    toadhall99, you are referring to Gloucester City Council, when the article clearly relates to Gloucestershire County Council. I'll leave that to sink in a while.

    |   2
  • toadhall99  |  February 25 2014, 9:32AM

    With The city is looking at £3.4 million cuts can we as tax payers really afford this with £50.000 job being handed out and £190.000 refurbished receptions....

    |   -3

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