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Grinch protest at MP’s office over pay cap

PROMINENT Welsh Conservative MP Stephen Crabb received a visit from a group of Grinch lookalikes outside his office in Haverfordwest this afternoon (Dec 12).

Public service workers, angry at the UK government’s continued seven-year pay cap, invoked the fictional character who famously wanted to ruin Christmas time. They are warning the MPs not to ‘steal our pay rise’.

Healthcare and local authority staff dressed as the Grinch are presenting giant Christmas cards on behalf of Wales’ 390,000 public service workers at the constituency offices of Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP, Guto Bebb MP, Stephen Crabb MP and David Jones MP.

The message inscribed reads: “Public service workers deliver essential services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year but the government pay freeze has seen their pay cut by over a fifth. This Christmas support public service workers and stand up for your community.”

The Christmas-themed stunts have been organised by UNISON and the trade union has promised a colourful and loud presence outside the constituency offices, with the assembled crowds singing Christmas carols featuring alternative lyrics to reflect the deep frustration of public service workers and their families.

Margaret Thomas, UNISON Cymru Wales regional secretary said: “When thousands of people in your community are in a desperate situation, that’s when you need your MP to stand up for them. After seven years of pay caps and freezes have reduced public service workers’ pay by a fifth, people are really struggling to pay the bills.

“Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns should be banging the Cabinet table, telling the Prime Minister people here are suffering. We need to hear the voices of Guto Bebb, Stephen Crabb and David Jones. None of them made any contribution to last week’s Parliamentary debate on public sector pay. By staying silent, they are failing to represent their constituents.

“An immediate end to the pay cap would transform thousands and thousands of lives in Wales and that means more money on Welsh high streets for local businesses too. That is the message Welsh Conservative MPs must tell their government this Christmas. Public service workers are the just-about-managing families that Theresa May promised to stand by and we want her to make good on her promise.”

UNISON has drawn attention to the fact that the number of its members in the constituencies of Alun Cairns, Stephen Crabb and Guto Bebb are greater than the majorities held by the MPs.

The trade union has warned the politicians they ignore public service workers at their peril.