Wednesday 18 June 2014

Unite and fight for the pay we deserve

#uNDC14 Britain needs a pay rise, and our members need a pay rise, not only for themselves but for the economy as a whole. We must now unite and fight and fight for what we deserve. That was the rousing message from Scottish NEC member Jane Carolan, as Conference backed action, including co-ordinated strike action to win decent wages for our members.

Jane told delegates that as a science fiction fan, she knows what she is talking about when she says that some people live in a parallel universe. “Because some people are seeing the green shoots of recovery in our economy. The BBC tells us they are there, sections of the national media tell us they are there.

“But try as I might I just haven’t spotted these little green shoots at all.”

With inflation increasing and our wages at a standstill, our living standards are falling away further, Jane told delegates.

“In the real world people are still getting poorer. Yes unemployment is falling, but 76% of the increase in employment has been in insecure, low paying, zero hours contracts or dubious self employment.

“Add to that temporary and part-time jobs that are taken by those wanting full-time employment and the picture is hardly one of a booming economy,” warned Jane, adding that the number of workers earning less than a living wage has rocketed in recent years to more than 5 million out of only 38 million people of working age.

Jane condemned the scourge of low pay in our society, the attacks on conditions and the deskilling of the workforce to keep the pay bill down. And she warned that all this doesn’t only affect us as workers. Wage decline affects our economy as a whole, with people having no money to spend, a fall in consumer demand which means the economy can’t grow.

“The share of our economy that goes on wages is in decline, a long term trend that is now accelerating, very adequately demonstrated by the latest Sunday Times Rich List.

“The fat cats are putting on weight,” slammed Jane.

Jane applauded the actions of UNISON members who have taken action in defence of their pay. “We need to challenge the contempt shown to us by this Tory Government. We do more than a fair day’s work – we deserve a fair day’s pay.

“Unless our members have money in their pockets there will be no recovery in the UK economy. And the only way we will get that is by uniting and fighting for what we deserve. Go back to your branches and mobilise for action.”

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