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Dover demonstration: UK can afford to solve the crises in our understaffed public services with fair pay settlements

On 1st of February a 5 person team from Dover district’s Green party were out supporting union members’ campaigns at a demonstration called by South East Kent Trades Union Council and local branches of PCS, NEU, RMT, UCU and other unions. (Picture shows cllr Beccy Sawbridge & Sarah Gleave and other Greens). National evidence shows that teachers, nurses, railway workers, front line PCS and other key workers are labouring in severely understaffed circumstances. Consequently these key workers find the cost of living crisis is pushing them to foodbanks and they see the services they provide becoming worse and worse.  At the Green Party conference of Autumn 2022, we Greens decided overwhelmingly to support the Enough is Enough campaign.


At DDC full council meeting on 25th January 2023, our Green campaigner Sarah pushed to Conservative cabinet to do more on these issues, with a question as a member of the public. (youtube link here

Below we provide the full text of a letter from Cllr Christine Oliver & campaigner Sarah, published in the Dover/ East Kent Mercury on 1st Feb 2023.

“Are people stuck at home with illness getting the care they need to wash, dress and feed themselves? Adult social care services are very understaffed, and with a question put to Dover district council at their full meeting on 25th Jan, we, Greens, are trying to find out if the situation in our Dover district is better or worse that the national average of 10% of posts vacant, and 165,000 unfilled social care posts in England. Both the ill and those who care for them at home, will be affected if the KCC cuts to community services, for example cuts to services for adults with learning disabilities, and cuts to services for young families, go through.  Families in Walmer, Elvington, Dover, St Radigunds, Deal, and services at Blossoms, Sunlight, and Meadowbank seem to be affected. There is currently a KCC consultation running until March 26th, and we urge many people to respond to it. We also suggest people support the on-line petition

The understaffing (because of low pay and ever-worsening conditions) in social care, is part of the larger picture of hardship among our key life-giving workers in the public sector. Evidence from the Financial Times, and the Office of National Statistics proves how public sector pay has fallen well behind private sector pay, and is nowhere near keeping up with inflation. How daft it is in a time of recruitment crisis among our key workers, for spoilt, dictatorial ministers to threaten the key workers who are hanging on with a deterioration in their conditions of employment, a reduction in their negotiating rights as members of a trade union.  Most people would understand threats and deteriorating work conditions are more likely to speed up than slow down a recruitment and retention crisis, we suggest. Enough is enough. It is also worth pointing out that with almost two-thirds of new wealth amassed since the start of the pandemic having gone to the richest 1%, there is an obvious means of lifting key workers out of the cost-of-living crisis and motivating staff to stay, in social care, health care, ambulance service, teaching and other public services we all need. We need a wealth tax. “

Sarah Gleave, Cllr Christine Oliver : Dover and Deal Green Party