PLACARD-waving trade unionists were at locations across South Tyneside today during a day of protest in support of a “decent pay rise”.
As part of a national drive, Unison members were organising protests, stunts and rallies at lunchtime, working jointly with the GMB and Unite unions.
In addition to a call for better pay it is designed to highlight the impact government cuts are having on council jobs and services.
In South Tyneside, the main gathering point at noon was to be outside the Central Library in South Shields.
But there were also to be protests at Strathmore House in Jarrow, Hebburn Civic Centre, Middlefields Recycling Village, Chuter Ede Education Centre and Landreth House, all South Shields.
As a day of protest – it is not industrial action – the wide range of activities on the day aim to “highlight the dire state of local government pay and the disastrous impact of cuts on local jobs and services”.
The Local Government Employers are consulting councils on pay and will be meeting on February 13 to decide how much they will offer members in response to a pay claim of an additional £1 per hour.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, activities will include getting members to write to their councillors and MPs, and send postcards to the Local Government Association, asking it to respond to the pay claim.
Merv Butler, branch secretary of Unison South Tyneside, said: “Maximum pressure needs to be applied before the Local Government Employers meet on February 13 to agree their response to the pay claim.
“The branch is holding lunchtime protests at various workplaces between noon and 1pm.
“We are asking members to come out at lunchtime and show their support for the pay campaign.”