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Unite campaigns against Local Government Employers' decision to freeze pay of low-waged

Unite has launched a campaign to protect 'People, Pay and Pension' in local government.

The trade union has attacked the decision of Local Government Employers (LGE) to freeze the pay of low-waged local government workers from this month.

Unite claims the pay freeze will hit especially hard the two thirds of all local government workers earning less than £18,000 a year, and warns it will hit local economies struggling to get back on their feet in the wake of the recession.

Yet with local councils in receipt of a 4% in their central government funding, the pay freeze is ‘totally unjustified', Unite says.

Peter Allenson, Unite's national organiser for the services sector, said: "The fair-minded voters of this country will be appalled to learn that local government employers are forcing the low-waged to pay the price of mistakes made elsewhere in our economy.

"It is totally unjustified for the local government employers to pocket a central funding increase but then to freeze the wages of low-paid workers. Most of these workers earn less than £18,000 a year. Taking from their wage packets does nothing more than widen the poverty gap in this country. This savage cut must be reversed now."

Unite's People, Pay and Pensions campaign aims to protect local government services, as well as the pay and pensions of council workers. Many economists agree that cutting back on public spending, including pay cuts, at such a fragile moment in the economic recovery could plunge the country back into recession.

According to research by the Association of Public Service Excellence, council workers re-spend 52p from every pound in the local economy. The Local Government Association's Labour group is against an across- the-board pay freeze for the sector and believes the lowest paid should get a 1% rise.