Unison's Living Wage call to Carmarthenshire politicians
A UNION says it will publicise the names of senior politicians who back its campaign for a pay rise for the 2,800 lowest paid council workers in Carmarthenshire — and those who don't.
This week Unison has written to all the county's AMs, MPs and Euro MPs.
It is asking them to sign a petition demanding Carmarthenshire Council pays all its staff what it calls a 'Living Wage' of £7.45 an hour, rather than the minimum wage, currently set at £6.19 an hour.
County council leaders say while they would like to introduce the pay rise they cannot afford it without extra funds from central government.
Council leader Kevin Madge has repeatedly said it would cost £1.75 million to introduce at a time when the authority had seen its budget cut in real terms.
He said without extra funding it would mean cutting services or around 80 jobs.
But council leaders in neighbouring Swansea have said they will introduce the 'living wage'.
Unison branch secretary for Carmarthenshire Mark Evans has written to all the county's senior politicians offering to meet with them and have publicity photographs of them signing the union's petition.
But he has warned them the union will also publicise those that do not.
He said: "The excuse for paying wages that keep our members in poverty is that the implementation of a living wage would cost £1.75m to implement the equivalent of over 80 job losses.
"This one-sided argument does not take into account the potential cost benefits of implementing a living wage for the council."
He said many big businesses back the move and said there was research that showed it would improve motivation and performance of staff, reduce absentee rates, offsetting the cost.
Mr Evans added: "How can it be that big business sees the material benefit of implementing the living wage but a Labour council does not?"