This has been sent to the local press.
Andy Shallice (20 March 2009) and the staff from Sharrow School have made
an excellent case against the draconian pay cuts that Sheffield City Council
are trying to impose on some workers. Sheffield Green Party
are very concerned that some of the lowest paid council workers seem set
to lose out. These include lunch time supervisors, school crossing patrols,
council transport and Streetforce workers. We support the principle of equal
pay for women and a unified approach to pay and grading across the council.
The problem comes when “equalising” pushes some employees down rather than up.
In the case of school staff, teachers and non-teaching staff work as a
team, all equally committed to the children’s well being and learning. We
support school workers because they do vital and responsible jobs. We
know that head teachers and school governors are trying to
deal with the effects on existing workers- they don’t want to
have to manage a demoralised and demotivated staff. Any agreement should
also take into account the position of new staff coming into these jobs. We
urge workers in all departments to seek advice from a Trade Union, even if
they have not been members until now.
As a national party, we see this in the wider context. Nationally Labour
has encouraged a system where people in the private sector, including
bankers and chief execs of formerly publicly owned utilities, earn hundreds
of thousands. Meanwhile most public sector wages, the minimum wage and the
state old age pension remain pitifully low. Inequalities between rich and
poor widened dramatically under Mrs Thatcher’s Conservative Government and
have got even worse under New Labour. Inequality harms our society and has
created poverty that people struggle to escape from, resulting in crime, mental illness and ill health. The gap between the best and worst paid council employees should be narrowed, not widened. Nationally the Green Party proposes a Living Wage, where everyone would be guaranteed a minimum income. Such a scheme would narrow the gap between rich and poor and create a better, healthier, happier society for all.
Sheffield Green Party