Saturday, 6 December 2008

Council leader 'ambushed'

It's not often that the leader of a council gets ambushed by campaigners, but that's what happened last night. The unlikely setting for this "ambush" was St Margaret's Church in Garden Village, where TCC* was holding its annual assembly.
More than 200 people heard about the ongoing campaigns TCC is involved with - the night shelter, for a Living Wage, Participatory Budgeting among others.
Cllr Aled Roberts, who leads Wrexham Council, was there to speak about the night shelter for rough sleepers but was called back on stage by the organisers after a call for a Wrexham Living Wage to be introduced for council staff. This "Wrexham Living Wage" could emulate that in Manchester, where the council has just introduced one £1.01 above the hourly UK minimum wage of £5.73.
This, more than any tinkering with VAT, is putting real money in the pockets of the lowest paid. It has the potential to lift 100,000 low-paid workers in Wales, including thousands in Wrexham.
To his credit, Aled promised to take up the matter. I'm sure TCC - and Plaid councillors - will be there too.
The National Assembly is also on the case - 31 AMs have signed up to a Living Wage commitment and work is underway (albeit at a snail's pace) to assess what a living wage would actually be for workers in Wales.
The TCC Assembly also heard about interesting developments regarding community participation in spending public money in Caia Park from Cllr Carrie Harper - more news about an intriguing pilot scheme in the New Year.

* TCC - Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru or Together Creating Communities has been campaigning on a variety of social justice issues for the past 15 years in Wrexham. Its record of success is second to none.


Rhys Wynne said...

I'd never heard of TCC before, and the idea of a local living wage is a very interesting idea. While working for the Inland Revenue, what i found 'funny' was that so many staff were in receipt of the low income benefits (Working Families Tax Credits at the time) that we were administrating!.

TCC have their own website BTW, it's good to add links within blog posts.

Plaid Whitegate said...

Good point Rhys - we're learning!

Unison has also signed up to the Living Wage campaign, which - in a council context - will give cleaners, dinner ladies and other low-paid workers a real cash boost.