Councillors from three parties on resources committee vote not even to consider increasing wage to liveable level as committee chair talks over councillor trying to argue for it
Labour, Tory and LibDem councillors have voted not even to consider the issue of paying the Real Living Wage to all workers delivering Wirral Council services. Twenty-three local authorities in England pay the ‘RLW’ to contractors and staff working for outsourced providers too.
But in Wirral borough on Merseyside, two years after all parties agreed to pay the Real Living Wage, more than half of care home providers in the borough don’t pass on the wage to workers – and video of a council committee session show a Green member of the committee, former Labour councillor Jo Bird, being talked over and condescended to by the Labour council leader as she tried to raise the issue for the sake of low-paid staff. The same individual had given the first opportunities to speak to the Tory group leader and Wirral Council’s chief executive, who is paid around £180,000 a year:
The Real Living Wage of £9.90 per hour is not paid to all workers delivering council services in Wirral, exacerbating poverty at the best of times and causing huge damage to families and communities in the midst of a corporate greed-driven ‘cost of living crisis’.
At Wirral’s Policy and Resources Committee on yesterday, Cllr Bird proposed that a further report be submitted to the Policy & Resources committee on the state of affairs regarding the Real Living Wage being paid to all workers delivering council services, not just those employed directly by the council. In response, several senior Wirral councillors spent a large part of the meeting talking against such a report.
Cllr Pat Cleary, leader of Wirral Greens and also on the committee, told other committee members:
All that we are asking for, is the report that we were promised, that would detail what the cost to the authority would be, if we were to pay the Real Living Wage to everybody who is employed delivering council services. Its perfectly reasonable.
Please treat the Real Living Wage with the respect it deserves. Its an important issue, which is important to highlight.
Cleary also took the council leader to task for the tone used against Bird for making ‘a perfectly reasonable request’ and the double-standard applied when other councillors have actively derailed meetings without receiving anything like the same kind of treatment. The derision shown to Cllr Bird – at the time the borough’s only Jewish councillor – continues the shameful treatment meted out to her locally by the Labour party, while the national party expelled her as part of its ongoing purge of left-wing Jews.
All Labour, Conservative and LibDem councillors present voted against the amendment for a Real Living Wage report, leaving only Wirral Green councillors apparently concerned enough about the poverty facing many involved in providing the council’s services to actually want to address the issue.
The toxicity of the Labour right at local government level has long brought disrepute to the party. That has not changed, except that the same arrogance, callousness and condescension is now the norm at national level since Keir Starmer became what currently passes for the party’s leader.
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