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Cornwall councillors demand: 'Pay all our staff a proper living wage'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 06, 2012

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Councillors in Cornwall have launched a petition calling for all of its staff to be paid at least £7.20 an hour.

Jude Robinson, Labour councillor at Cornwall Council, is behind the bid and wants the authority to become an accredited living wage employer.

The petition was launched as unions across the country called for the £7.20 rate to be adopted by local authorities and the private sector. However, taxpayer groups said the rise would spark higher council tax bills for residents.

Ms Robinson said she wanted those on low pay working for the council to benefit, for example dinner ladies who earn around £12,000 a year.

However, she said she didn't know how much the increase would cost taxpayers because her efforts to get the council to investigate and debate the issue had been rejected.

She said: "People who work hard should not have to struggle to pay for essentials and the council should take the lead in building a fair economy in Cornwall.

"The living wage can lift families out of poverty, reduce reliance on benefits and prevent people falling into debt."

Currently the minimum wage stands at £6.19 an hour for 21-year-olds and over, £4.98 for 18-20-year-olds, under-18s £3.68 and £2.65 for apprentices. The living wage is the minimum hourly rate for an individual to meet their own or their family's basic day-to-day needs, including housing, food and clothing, according to the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said other avenues existed for politicians to help low-earners. He said: "If politicians really want to help people who aren't earning a lot of money then they need to look at income tax and national insurance, which claim 40 pence in each pound someone earns after the personal allowance, and consumption taxes like fuel duty and VAT, which massively increase the cost of living.

"While the living wage campaign claims to be interested only in pay at the bottom of the income distribution, over time differences in earnings which reflect the pecking order in the council are likely to reassert themselves.

"This will just end up as another pay rise for public sector staff at the expense of local residents, including the many people really struggling who don't work for the council.

"More big increases in public sector pay are not sustainable and not fair at a time when public sector workers are significantly better paid than workers in the private sector.

"Ultimately it will be residents in Cornwall who have to pick up the bill in higher council tax. They deserve a fairer deal."

Stephen Rushworth, Cornwall Council's portfolio holder for economy and regeneration could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

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  • ackedoff  |  November 07 2012, 6:10PM

    Oh my god! Don't you let up? Do you just sit at home thinking about how to goad people into an argument? If I had anything to say about it I would have done several posts ago How about just saying sorry for generalising ......again

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  November 07 2012, 5:37PM

    Do you have anything to say about better wages for the worst paid council employees Ackedoff?

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  • ackedoff  |  November 07 2012, 5:13PM

    H-trevorrow, are you completely solid? Have I said that I support this proposal? Lets make this very clear!what I am angry about is your constant blanket approach to cc employees, I don't deny that there are lots of people on the salaries you qoute, but they are a minority, do Your maths and work out the percentage of these from 18000, which is the number of employees cc has The vast majority of the remainder are on anything between 12 and 16k, not exactly a salary which gets you annual holidays in Bermuda eh? Oh by the way the majority of these are also female supplementing low paid partners wages from the private sector If you take the time to ask them you may find that they agree with your comments about fat cats in the council but I think they would certainly have a problem with you taring them with the same brush I'm a little confused as to why you think I'm a unionist too, god knows why you assume this. For your information I have no affiliation with the unions but have family members, friends who work in the council. I have a very good working knowledge of what goes on at the shop floor in the council and find your constant blanket approach to cc employees offensive and very very unfair Now is that clear enough or do I have to get my crayons out for you??

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  November 07 2012, 5:03PM

    Gone very quiet ackedoff !!! Like all socialists when the evidence of thier own greedy unionised hubris is exposed they dissappear. It is nearly comical how cllrs like Ms Robinson claim to represent the working class when they know that the only way to better low council salaries will be to tax other low wage earners....they will always avoid tackling the upper echelons of thier greedy unionised friends. Quite sickening really.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  November 07 2012, 4:40PM

    Lets do the math Ackedoff- 900 people on 40k = 36 mill.....here is where your 3 mill for the lowest paid could easily come from .....except your union won't allow it.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  November 07 2012, 4:32PM

    Lets put this in perspective Ackedoff. For a business, creating the wealth needed to fund any governing entity, you would need to turnover circa £200,000 per annum to support one job at £40,000 {based on a profit margin of 20/25%} Yet Cornwall, a county of small businesses, can somehow afford nearly 900 of these super paid. This demonstrates how utterly removed from reality the council are.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  November 07 2012, 4:12PM

    Acked off excuse me for following you off topic...perhaps you can explain to the rest of us why there are over 400 people on £40,000 + pa in our local education system ???? Why 90 people need paying over £35000 pa in adult services....why under the label communities 100 people are on £40,000+ pa. The problem is not with the fat cat execs it is with the next tiers of management....these numbers of demi chiefs is ridiculous.... There are 1089 council employees on 35 k + and a further 893 ON £40k +and all supported, no doubt , by thier union.

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  • unhappysteveo  |  November 07 2012, 3:30PM

    they forget to mention that those on the next pay scale up would also ned a wage increase to keep the gap between the lower scale and theirs at a proportinal rate.

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  • ackedoff  |  November 07 2012, 3:18PM

    I dont see anything offensive in anything Ive written which is different to the comment YOU made about council employees being on the "gov gravy train"and your most recent sarcy comments. Nor have i made comment in support or otherwise of this proposal. My problem is your constant snipe(s)at cc employees as if they are all the same as those in the trough. You've done it in many other threads most recently about the removal of herr robertson. As i have said before, these are hard working decent people many of whom are on or just above the minimum wage, these are the same people who are verbally and physically abused by those they are paid to serve, i.e the public. There arent any gold plated pensions, massive salaries or pay offs for these guys. They dont deserve or need comments such as yours Im not sure if you percieve yourself as some local political analyst but believe you me you only come across as a misguided, arrogant ,wally

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  November 07 2012, 2:20PM

    No one has questioned the work ethic of council employees Ackedoff. The issue is how you pay more for the lowest earners. Apart from slinging insults do you have anything constructive to add? Or are you just going to reassert the usual socialist fantasy that all wages should be squashed toward the middle. I would actually be happy to follow your lead on this ....BUT.... we all know who will stop this ....your socialist unions....you 'type' talk equality but your 'type' cannot walk equality .

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