Leader seeks facts over living wage call
9:00am Sunday 23rd September 2012 in News
CARMARTHENSHIRE’S leader insists he is gathering information on the impact of the living wage and is awaiting the outcome of work on the issue.
Cllr Kevin Madge was responding to claims from Unison that the local authority had rejected their calls to impose a living wage of £7.20 per hour for its low-paid employees.
“During the recent council elections Labour leader Kevin Madge has stated that the priority for the council should be job creation,” said Mark Evans, secretary of Unison’s Carmarthenshire branch. “But what example is the Labour-led coalition setting when it refuses to alleviate the poverty its own employees are experiencing caused by the low pay the county council pays approximately 2,000 of its own employees?
“It seems that the decision not to support our demand has been made behind closed doors.”
Welcoming the Plaid group’s decision to support the union, Mr Evans pledged that Unison’s campaign would be stepped up.
But Cllr Madge maintained he wants to be in full possession of all the facts before the matter is discussed by the executive board.
He said he had already asked the council’sHRstaff to provide information on implementing the living wage and was awaiting the outcome of the Welsh Local Government Association’s work on the issue.
“I await with interest the outcome of all the work being undertaken,” said Cllr Madge. “Clearly it will impact financially on public sector organisations and that will need to be studied in some detail, but it could also impact on benefits which lower paid employees are currently entitled to.
“With the benefits changes coming in next year, this will have to be considered carefully along with the other issues.
“I am a staunch supporter of helping those people who are less well off, however this is something which could have a great effect on a lot of people’s lives and is not something we should jump into before we are in full possession of all the facts.”