I see from the media that Labour pay masters, the trade unions are once again pushing for local authorities across the country to introduce a living wage for public sector workers. I see they have also asked for a £1,000 flat rate payment.
What are they playing at? This proposal is wrong on so many levels.
I was disappointed with the SNP who instead of holding their ground jumped on this policy as a manifesto commitment for the Scottish Council elections. From discussions I have had with many SNP Councillors and activists, it is clear they do not support this discriminatory policy.
My first objection to this proposal is that it is deep rooted discrimination to the majority of our population. They are saying that the national minimum wage, which Labour introduced in the 1998 National Minimum Wage Act, is only good for some sections of society and not others. If Labour desired a living wage they should have increased the national minimum wage to £7.20, instead they have jumped on the band wagon and are once again threatening our local economies.
Secondly, how can local authorities pay for this increase? Councils are already strapped for cash due to the SNP’s council tax freeze; many have had to dip into reserves to make the books balance. Increasing wages to £7.20ph and giving a £1,000 flat payment to some public sector workers would most certainly cripple local authorities. Many SNP Councillors know this as do many Tory Councillors, when will Labour see sense and stop dancing to the tune of their union pay masters?
My final point relates to the middle to high income public sector workers who, as I have been told by a few Councillors, may have legal grounds to challenge for a wage increase if the living wage is implemented for the lower grades. This would cost local authorities a lot of money and would most defiantly put their books into the red.
I am most certainly fed up of hearing Labour and the trade unions bang on about unfair pay freezes. There are many out there who work for the third sector or the private sector who are out of jobs, or took a real time pay cut. Having any job in this climate that Labour created is a bonus.
This policy that Labour has been so badly pushing for is nothing other than a tune their trade union pay masters want played. SNP and Tory Councillors must fight off this discriminatory policy to ensure fairness and stable local budgets.