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The Low Pay Unit's report published today - commissioned by UNISON - presents a bleak picture of a low paid, overwo...
The Low Pay Unit's report published today - commissioned by UNISON - presents a bleak picture of a low paid, overworked, demoralised local government workforce.

An analysis of pay rates using official data and statistics and a major survey of more than 500 local government employees found:

-- 500,000 people, three quarters of them women, earn less than £4.26 an hour

-- local authority pay is falling relative to private sector pay for both men and women

-- morale has suffered as jobs and pay have been cut: 84% saw no prospects of promotion and 63% were fearful about their future

-- one in four reported that they were expected to work unpaid overtime

-- one in ten were on social security benefits other than child benefit or a pension

-- one in ten did not know whether they were eligible for benefits, or did not wish to claim them

-- just under half had dependent children. In almost two thirds of cases the children were looked after by a relative and over a quarter were with registered childminders. One in six were in nurseries or crche. A quarter of those paying for childcare had to find more than £60 a week

-- almost a fifth had financial problems. One in 12 had sought advice over debt

-- almost 30% had not had any sort of holiday lasting more than three nights in the last year

UNISON head of local government Keith Sonnet said:

'This report explodes the myth of the tea-swilling, town hall bureaucrat with a cushy well-paid job for life. The majority of local government workers are poorly rewarded, overworked, insecure, often find it difficult to make ends meet and fear for their future. This low state of morale affects the public who rely on council services.

'We need to establish a new culture in local government where staff are treated decently and paid properly for the very valuable jobs they do.' END

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