Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Cut the pay to £50K!
So the first stage of our Plymouth Pay Protest started today with a group of us standing outside the council chambers with placards, thanks to all of those who turned up to support this campaign. For those of you who turned up late you would have missed the vitriole spouted by Plymouth City Council leader Viven Pengelly who clearly missed the point of the protest, failed to communicate with me and instead resorted to bullying tactics and threats of legal action. Whilst bullying tactics may work in Ms Pengelly's own cabinet they do not work on me. Whatever my actions I did not deserve the torrent of abuse that Ms Pengelly gave and I was extremely disappointed that she would not give me a chance to explain my point of view or the point of the protest.
I should explain that the original protest was started after I read an article on the thisisplymouth website about pay rises awarded to senior civil servants, the figures that the article quoted were taken from the Taxpayers alliance who released their figures under the Freedom of information act. Here are the Taxpayers alliance figures. Plymouth City Council are keen to deny the figures stating that they are inaccurate, I had asked the democratic office for the 'correct' figures but have received no reply.
Whether the figures are correct or not is not really the point, those at the top are being paid too much and are not taking the same cuts as those at the bottom. Check out this story from a lady called 'Anne' who works for the council and who spoke to us today at the protest. "I am finding it really hard, all my overtime has been cut, I was on a low wage anyway and now I can't make ends meet. I haven't had a pay rise in years and the cuts now mean I earn less now than I did three years ago. To make matters worse the cost of living has gone up so I am actually earning far less than I have ever done in my life. "
Also at today's protest was an off-duty police officer who commented that his annual income has been reduced by £6,000 per year and he will be looking at an early retirement as the force seeks further cuts.
A follow up protest is now in the offing as well as a petition to campaign for the reduction of the wages of those at the top level of salaries.
So campaign continues and I will update you as and when I have news. Thanks to all of those who supported me and those who bothered to turn up today and thanks to Heart FM, Radio Plymouth and ITN news for covering things to date.