Derby’s Conservatives abstain on vote to help council’s lowest-paid workers

The Conservative group on Derby City Council last night (Wednesday 20 July) abstained on a vote that supported a ‘reasonable’ pay rise for council and school workers, despite staff working on the frontline throughout the pandemic.

The motion brought by the Labour group and backed by UNISON, asked that Derby City Council support a real terms pay increase for local government workers to be funded with new money from central government. The motion also asked the council to meet with local trade union representatives to consider practical ways workers could be supported.

Conservative leader Councillor Chris Poulter said that it was the council’s intention to press government for more funding and that their call for better pay ‘could not be clearer’. Councillor Poulter then went on to call the motion ‘superfluous’ and abstained with the rest of his Conservative colleagues.

The motion was passed with support from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

UNISON Derby City Branch Secretary Becky Everett said: “Paying local government staff a proper wage is an investment – not just in the workforce but also in the local services they provide and the local economies they support.

“The Tories say they’re grateful for the work council staff have done and ‘endorse the appropriate level of pay rises’ but refused to back Labour’s motion. They are playing politics with people’s lives and putting low-paid workers at risk just to save face”.

This decision by Derby’s Conservatives comes just one week after Tory-led Derbyshire County Council committed to support a fair pay rise for their staff.