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Backing for wage battle; Socialists say why pay levy to Labour Party?

Byline: Fiona Scott, Political Editor

TRADE unionists campaigning for a pounds 1,000-a-year across-the-board pay rise for city council workers are being backed by Socialists.

Unison's national campaign aims to help the lowest-paid workers such as dinner servers and home helps. The three-strong group of Socialist councillors in Coventry has put up a motion urging all the city's councillors to support it.

They are urging Unison members to think twice about paying a political levy to the Labour party if Labour councillors refuse. The motion was described on Tuesday as "despicable" by deputy council leader Cllr John Mutton (Lab, Binley and Willenhall).

He said wages were always negotiated nationally and the city council always paid what was agreed. "Obviously, if it was pounds 1,000 across the board, you're looking at pounds 11million in Coventry. I believe this is unrealistic.

He added: "Rather than an expansion of service, which we have put into the budget for next year, it could well mean cuts in services to be able to afford it."

The initial offer nationally was 3per cent, which the unions rejected. Talks are continuing. In Scotland, unions settled for pounds 500 across the board.

Socialist Cllr Rob Windsor (St Michaels) said: "Our motion represents the start for our support for the Unison campaign which we hope will be eagerly taken up by council staff in other unions.

"We hope the council will pledge support. If they do not, then union members need to question why they are paying a levy to the Labour party when it not only fails to defend the living standards of council workers but is actively involved in cutting and privatising services.".
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 29, 2001
Words:277
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