TUC's austerity bus comes to Weston on Saturday as workers lose £3,000

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austerity uncovered bus

Workers in North Somerset have seen more than £3,000 wiped off their earnings since 2010, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

The figures - average weekly earnings down by 3.6% - have come to light as the TUC's austerity uncovered bus today visits the town to hear from local people how the government's cuts are affecting them.

The bus will join in UNISON's family fun day at Woodspring Park from 10am to 2pm, where local people are campaigning to keep Weston Hospital from being privatised, before driving to the Bournville estate at 3pm, giving people the chance to pop in and tell their personal stories of the recession.

They will also be asked if they would like to send messages to the government about how the loss of public services, changes to benefits and falling wages is affecting them.

Nigel Costley, Regional Secretary of the South West TUC, said: 'Since the banks triggered the credit crunch and the resultant recession way back in 2008, average pay rises have failed to keep up with price rises, and real incomes have fallen, making living standards tumble and leaving far too many earning too little to get by.

'Across the public sector and in much of the private sector pay is frozen or rising far more slowly than inflation. Put in simple terms, too much pay freeze = no more spending = no customers = no business = continued economic depression. Customer-facing sectors like retail are first to feel the pinch, but the effect can be swiftly felt throughout the whole economy.

'This weak pay growth is a function of an economic cycle that has become stuck at the bottom. Meanwhile, at the top, UK corporations are sitting on a record amount of reserves at the moment - some £725 billion.

'They are simply waiting to see whether the government can get the economy going again. If even a small fraction of that amount went into wages we would all enjoy real pay growth again and there would be no more need for pay freezes.

'A government that can deliver good pay rises and good levels of employment is certain to trump a government that abandons either of these things. Such a government needs to work constructively with working people and their unions to deliver the rising living standards benefits that we all want and need.'

Weston Trades Union Council has organised a separate meeting about the privatisation at the Weston Working Men's Club in Orchard Street at 7pm.

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