None of us can escape the growing sense of unease at the growing divide between rich and poor, we have all seen the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and now we watch with interest the developments in the Yemen, Bahrain and more worryingly Libya.
Of course the dissatisfaction with local and national government is not confined to foreign shores and most of us are feeling the pinch of the rising cost of living whilst dealing with pay cuts, job losses and major cuts to front line services.
On Wednesday morning I read the Heralds coverage of the pay-rises (check out the comments) awarded to senior council officials and my stomach churned. The figures, which are denied by Plymouth City Council but confirmed by the Taxpayers alliance under figures they received under the Freedom of Information act, state that Barry Keel, the current P.C.C chief executive has been awarded a pay rise of 18.6 percent resulting in his pay rising from £170,000 per year to £203,000. A 36,000 pay rise in a time of cuts is simply obscene.
So whilst Mr Keel and many other senior council enjoy their huge salaries, generous pensions and expenses the rest of us carry on suffering.
In response to the pay rises I have organised the first of several targeted protests aimed to send a clear message to the council that we will not tolerate cuts at the bottom without cuts at the top. I personally would like to see a £50,000 cap on wages for council leaders, this would still allow them to have a more than comfortable standard of living and would free up finance to spend on more important city issues.
Those, such as Barry Keel, will argue that their wages are in-line with private sector pay so I challenge them to seek employment in the private sector instead and allow people who genuinely care about the people of Plymouth to fill the vacant posts on the proposed capped salary.
If you feel angry at the recent council pay rises and the growing divide between rich and poor in the city then please join us at our Plymouth Pay Protest to be held on Tuesday 29th March at 1.30pm outside the council chambers. This will be a peaceful protest and I ask if everyone can wear something red as a symbol of your anger towards our city fat cats.
There is a Plymouth Pay Protest facebook group that you can join to be kept up to date with all protest events and there is an events page for the protest planned for the 29th. Hope to see you all there.