The public sector union is reminding voters ahead of next week’s local elections that thousands of public sector staff face a government pay freeze.
Trade union UNISON, which represents over 1 million public sector workers in the UK, has today launched a campaign to remind voters of the government’s record on pay deals for key workers ahead of the local elections next week.
The union has created a series of hard-hitting films that show key workers such as care home staff, hospital porters and teaching assistants carrying out vital jobs while many of us were safe at home during the pandemic.
Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle has provided the voiceovers for the videos that urge people to “vote for fair pay in the May elections”.
“They deserve more” begins by crediting frontline workers including hospital porters, care home workers and emergency responders who “went to work when the world stayed home”.
“And they call them heroes: our first line of defence, partners for the final dance”, Debelle says, prompting the words “key workers deserve more than this government’s empty words” in block yellow font.
The films, which will be shown online on Facebook and YouTube, are intended to remind people how public service staff ‘stepped up’, only to be let down by the government despite the physical and emotional strain they have faced.
UNISON and other health unions have previously branded the government’s recommended pay rise of 1% for NHS workers as ‘derisory’, while a one-year pay freeze for most UK public sector key workers was also announced by Rishi Sunak late last year.
The union says that the local elections are a chance for the public to vote for change and show the government that they don’t want key workers taken for granted.
UNISON says that in addition to a proper pay increase for all key workers, care staff should receive at least the real living wage of £9.50 per hour (£10.85 in London) and all NHS staff should receive at least a £2,000 rise.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Public sector workers have been at the heart of the country’s fight against the pandemic. It’s thanks to them that loved ones have been cared for, bins emptied and children educated.
“They’ve kept communities safe by providing vital services and giving 100 per cent. But the government is set on squeezing their wages.
“A pay boost for the public sector would actually help the wider economy. Yet ministers insist on pitting workers against each other with false claims.
“This is your chance to stop them being taken for granted. Choose wisely when casting your vote.”
To see more about UNISON’s campaign, visit: https://www.nogoingbacktonormal.org/
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