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Sussex council staff hold pay protests
10:54am Tuesday 4th February 2014 in News
UPDATE: Dozens of council workers staged lunchtime protests over pay.
Union members at Brighton and Hove and Adur and Worthing councils gathered outside their offices to campaign for higher pay.
Members of the Unison, Unite and GMB unions complained that they are struggling to survive on their wages.
Denise Knutsen, Unison convener at Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “We had about 20 to 25 people taking part.
“We are on a national pay scale and it is lagging behind by something like 4% because we haven't had pay rises for so long.
“Our pay doesn't change but the cost of everything else keeps going up.”
Adur and Worthing Unison steward Lee Billingham said: “We had staff taking part at council sites across Adur and Worthing and a protest at Worthing Town Hall.
“For us it has been about pay.
“We don't know what cuts there are to come for Adur and Worthing yet but like a lot of people we have been suffering from a pay freeze for four years, which has effectively cut our pay in real terms by 18%.”
Scores of demonstrations took place across Britain yesterday as the unions claimed one million government workers earn less than £7.65 an hour.
Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB union, said many of those are women in part-time jobs, having to suffer the "indignity" of claiming in-work benefits.
"How can it be that in 21st century Britain, public service workers must rely on state handouts?
"We are talking about frontline workers who serve our communities day in, day out. They work as street sweepers, social workers, classroom assistants, housing officers, cleaners and dinner ladies.”
Fiona Farmer, Unite national officer, said: "Britain's shrinking wages crisis means workers need a pay rise - none more so than the country's million-plus low-paid local government workers who are struggling to make ends meet after an 18% real pay cut since 2010."
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