Despite the idyllic postcard look and feel to Powys, if you scratch the surface there is real poverty and deprivation – sometimes disguised by our rolling hillsides.
The Independent-run council has happily allowed more than 1000 of its workers to scrape by on poverty pay for years, but since Labour increased its numbers in the 2012 elections, we have been using our new muscle to push the case for a Living Wage.
As one of Labour’s newly elected Councillors, I led the campaign and mobilised support across the Trade Union movement. The determined efforts of the Labour Group, and its Trade Union allies, to help lift the council’s own workers out of poverty has finally paid off: Powys Council staff will now be paid a Living Wage.
That’s Labour making a difference to rural communities, despite being in opposition, and it’s a record that Labour in Powys is proud of.
Labour’s three year campaign was won through hard work and dedication, but most of all it shows why a Labour voice is as relevant to rural communities as it is to cities.
The local party have got their sights set on the Council’s shameful use of zero hour contracts now. Powys traps 25% of its workforce on them.
This battle is won, but the fight continues!
Matthew Dorrance is Labour Candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire and a Powys County Councillor
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Labour: Coast & Country.