Heather Wakefield

About Heather Wakefield

Heather Wakefield is head of the Local Government Service Group of the UK’s largest public service trade union Unison, representing over 700,000 of the union’s 1.4 million members. She was previously a researcher and regional official for the union, and a women’s rights officer for NCCL (Liberty). Heather is a regular commentator on local government and women’s issues.

The Great Pay Robbery

A storm is brewing in local government, where employers and unions are at loggerheads over postponed pay talks. An 18% decline in basic pay is making many council employees feel seriously undervalued Read more

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A Christmas message to the Prime Minister

Unison’s head of local government sends a heartfelt letter to David Cameron warning of the plight of one million local government workers who earn less than the official poverty line Read more

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Miliband speech: use your head, Ed

Ed Miliband could have gone further in his leader’s speech yesterday. It’s not too late – he should promise that a Labour government would restore council budgets, review pay levels and end privatisation Read more

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Lifting the lid on a public inconvenience

Despite their new responsibility for public health, cash-strapped councils are increasingly shutting down public toilets. The impact on public sector workers, local communities and the economy is no joking matter Read more

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LGA conference: assessing the damage

The scale of the cutbacks bearing down on local government are becoming clear. Two new reports suggest ways for the workforce and communities to limit the impact Read more

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Council pay: an offer they can refuse

Pay bargaining in councils will be at breaking point if nothing more is put on the table beyond the current ‘two-option’ offer. Retaining the goodwill of staff is critical to the very survival of local government Read more

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Who cares about the care workers?

The pay and working conditions of our predominantly female care workforce are already a national scandal. Cuts to council budgets can only make matters worse  Read more

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Community rights and doctrinal wrongs

The Community Right to Bid could cost town halls an extra £5m. This completely contradicts ministers’ promises that any new local burdens will be funded by central government Read more

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To be – or not to be – a pilgrim?

Attempts to remove facility time for union representatives are not just shortsighted. They may also reflect a hidden agenda to impose local and regional pay 

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Council pay: time to stop the rot

Pay for ordinary council works now lags 10% behind 1990s levels. With local government pay talks due to commence tomorrow, employers need to sit up and take notice Read more

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