Youth workers seek minimum £1,000 pay rise

By Tristan Donovan

| 15 May 2018

Unions representing youth workers are to push for a minimum £1,000 pay rise for each of the next two years, it has been announced.

Unions say youth worker pay has fallen 21 per cent in real-terms since 2010. Picture: NTI/posed by models

Unite, Unison, the National Education Union and the University and College Union said they will seek a five per cent or £1,000 a year - whichever is the greater - increase in both 2018 and 2019.

The claim has been lodged with the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC), the body that sets the so-called "pink book" pay grades for local government and voluntary sector youth workers ahead of the 1 September pay review date.

The unions said the wage rise is needed because youth workers have endured almost a decade of real-terms pay cuts.

In addition, the unions want the lowest paid youth workers to be move onto a "real living wage" of £8.75 an hour outside London and £10.20 an hour in the capital.

The unions said the pay rises are justified because youth worker pay has fallen 21 per cent in real-terms since 2010 due to pay freezes and below-inflation wage rises. They also noted that youth service funding has been cut by £400m since 2010 leading to many youth workers losing their jobs.

"Youth and community workers have been left struggling to make ends meet under this government's austerity policies," said Unite national officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe.

"Thousands have lost their jobs while the crucial services they provide to children and young people have been cut to the bone. They have seen their profession crumble through de-professionalisation and downgrading. 

"Today, we are saying enough is enough. It's time to pay up for youth and community workers and invest in the services children and young people receive."

Unison's deputy head of local government Mike Short added: "New recruits and trained, experienced staff are essential for the smooth running of youth and community services. Yet poverty pay means employers are struggling to attract and hold on to staff, and those left are doing much more for less."

The "pink book", was first established in 1961 and sets out a 32-point pay scale for youth and community support workers.

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