'You can't pay people with claps' - Suffolk council workers label pay offer ‘insulting’

A Unison protest outside Endeavour House Ipswich PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Unison members came from across the county to take part in the event at Endeavour House in Ipswich PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Local government workers from across Suffolk held a protest outside county council headquarters Endeavour House today, to reject what they call an "insulting" pay offer.

The rally marks the start of UNISON’s national strike ballot in which council and schools workers are being urged to vote yes to action against a 1.75% pay offer, or 2.75% for those on the very lowest pay band.

A Unison protest outside Endeavour House Ipswich PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Unison protesters made their views known with banners and placards Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

UNISON points out that the offer is a real-terms pay cut with inflation having soared past 4% already this year.

Local government workers rallied outside Endeavour House from 11am to 2pm, urging the council and the government to make more money available for local authority pay. 

A Unison protest outside Endeavour House Ipswich PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Protesters labelled the pay increase offered as "insulting" PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Jasper Bailey booked the day off to go and protest outside his workplace. He said: "I think since 2010 everyone has seen a massive real terms pay decrease, because it's been frozen for so long.

"This mainly for the people we all stood outside and clapped for during lockdown and said they were essential workers, and now that's sort of come to an end everyone's sort of forgotten about them.

"You can't pay people with claps at the end of the day, you need the money in your bank."

A Unison protest outside Endeavour House Ipswich PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Unison members protest outside Endeavour House PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

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Simon Gooding, young persons worker with vulnerable young people, believes the pay cut has "been completely wiped out" by the National Insurance rise. He said: "I think it's definitely time to take a stand, stand up for ourselves and at least maintain our pay for next year."

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Winston Dorsett said: “Council and schools workers have kept going tirelessly through successive lockdowns. They kept communities safe and clean, kept schools open for those who needed them most and kept providing the services that we all rely upon.

“After all their sacrifices, after the hardest year of their lives, it’s a staggering insult to offer these workers a real-terms pay cut."

A Unison protest outside Endeavour House Ipswich PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

The protest outside Endeavour House lasted three hours PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “Local government pay arrangements are negotiated and agreed nationally before being implemented by individual councils.

“Those taking part in the rally today are making their views known which national negotiators will consider as part of those negotiations.”