Swansea needs councillors who vote against cuts! No to austerity - vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Don’t waste the opportunity to send a clear ‘no more cuts’ message by voting for Ronnie Job, TUSC: the only no-cuts, socialist candidate in Swansea West in the 2015 General Election!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Swansea's Labour Council is not a Living Wage Employer!

Socialism 2014 Rally Platform Speakers
A fighting socialist and trade unionists platform includes Ian Hodson, Bakers' Union President (on right) at Socialism 2014

And neither are 21 out of 22 local authorities in Wales!

An aspiring Labour politician has sent me a link to the GMB website in an attempt to prove that City and County of Swansea is a Living Wage employer.

The story on the site, which is over a year old, uncritically repeats claims by the then Labour leader, David Phillips, that Swansea's Labour councillors had agreed to pay the Living Wage. What it fails to mention is that, by the time that most of the lowest paid workers received it, the level the Council were paying was already out-of-date - 20p less an hour than the Living Wage Foundation said workers needed to get by on at the time.

Councillor Phillips also failed to mention that the payment of a "living wage" (at less than the Living Wage rate) was partially paid for by cuts to other payments to council workers and charging them for the privilege of going to work, through car parking charges. These cuts left some workers facing a 10% drop in wages and when some protested they were told to "sign (new contracts) or be sacked"!

It gets worse though. The Council made it crystal clear that this was a one-off and that there was no commitment to increase council workers' pay in line with the Living Wage. This was reinforced when then council cabinet financial spokesman, now Council Leader, Rob Stewart, moved this year's cuts budget. In the papers accompanying the budget, it states plainly that the Council is not committed to becoming a Living Wage employer and has not budgeted for the increase in the Living Wage that has just taken place.

I decided to double-check just in case, with uncharacteristic modesty, Labour councillors had decided to increase the wages of their poorest workers without making a song and dance about it. On the Living Wage Foundation website you can get lists of Living Wage employers in each region. There are 33 in Wales and only one of them is a local authority. It isn't City and County of Swansea! Labour leads half the local authorities in Wales and yet 21 out of 22 are paying poverty wages! No wonder nearly a quarter of workers in Wales earn less than the Living Wage.

Was the GMB's enthusiasm to promote Labour councillors' unsubstantiated claims to be a Living Wage employer a result of their long outdated link with Labour?

Even the Living Wage, although it would represent an increase for tens of thousands of Welsh workers, isn't enough. The GMB at this year's TUC seconded the motion moved by the Bakers' Union, BFAWU, that the TUC demand the minimum wage be raised to £10 an hour.

This weekend, at the Socialist Party's annual education event, I heard Ian Hodson, President of the Bakers' Union explain why. Anything less than £10 leaves low paid workers needing their wages to be topped up by means-tested benefits in order to get by. This is state subsidising of employers who pay poverty wages.

£10 an hour was overwhelmingly carried at the TUC but TUSC candidates will be the only ones demanding immediate implementation of TUC policy on pay now and at the general election. After all, if the minimum wage had kept pace with bosses' sky-rocketing pay, the minimum wage would be worth £19/hour now. We call on all trade unionists to support us in demanding £10 now, with no exceptions on age or other grounds. If you're in an affiliated union ask why your union's finances go to support a Labour Party whose policy is for £8 an hour (15p more than the current Living Wage) in 5/6 years' time and not TUC policy.


  1. Green Party Agent for English student Wakeling is Martyn Shrewsbury convicted fraudster charlatan hypnotherapist

    1. Swansea TUSC supporters would prefer not to comment on the character of another candidate's agent. Anybody can read the details for themselves in the local press.
      We are putting up a candidate (Ronnie Job) in the by-election on November 20 because we believe that all the other candidates, including the Greens, will make cuts to services and jobs.
      We want to offer a socialist, no-cuts alternative.
      Thanks you again for taking the time to read our blog.

  2. Young Mr Wakeling is a student, and last year he was the Green candidate back home in Maidstone. Here we have a young Green who knows nothing about the city he’s just moved to, but clearly believes that such ignorance is no obstacle to him standing for election to the body running that city.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to respond to a post on our blog.
      We can understand the fear of electing a candidate with no commitment to representing their constituents after the casual approach of the outgoing Labour councillor.
      Swansea TUSC supporters would prefer to concentrate on our commitments to represent constituents, to vote against all cuts and to only take genuine expenses in fulfilling the role of councillor.


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