Weak public sector pay rises bashed by unions

Submitted by sglenister on Mon, 30/07/2018 - 15:15

30 July 2018

An announcement last week that public sector workers will see pay rises below inflation, and that the wage increases may have to come out of existing budgets, has been widely criticised by trade unions.

Armed forces personnel will receive just 2.9%, prison officers are due 2.75%, teachers have been offered up to 3.5%, while doctors and dentists will see rises of at least 2%

However, those working in prisons and the armed forces will actually receive a lower increase once bonuses and perks have been accounted for.

This comes after years of real wage declines for workers across the public sector as a result of the 1% pay cap implemented by the Coalition government.

TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, said: "These pay settlements are a long way from good enough. Many public sector workers will still get pay settlements that are less than inflation, so the pay misery will continue. And it's not clear if all the rises will be properly funded by the Treasury or will instead come from raiding budgets for frontline services.

"The government must stop ignoring the recommendations of the independent pay review bodies. Every public sector worker deserves a proper above-inflation pay rise. And all pay rises must be fully funded without raiding departmental budgets. Otherwise it will only damage frontline services and put staff under greater stress."

Assistant General Secretary of Unison Christina McAnea, described the settlement as "robbing Peter to pay Paul". "Without extra money from the Treasury to fund these pay increases, services and jobs somewhere will have to be cut," she pointed out.

"Everyone working tirelessly to deliver services to the public – in increasingly difficult circumstances thanks to the cuts that just keep on coming – needs and deserves a pay rise," she added.

"But just as it did for the NHS and health workers, the Treasury should have come up with the money to fund all these pay promises.

"Sadly these pay rises won’t be pain free for schools and police forces. Without extra resources, already beleaguered budgets will now have to be raided."

Meanwhile, the GMB highlighted that the government had issued the announcement on the last day of Parliament before the summer recess, allowing Ministers to hide from their responsibilities.

National General Secretary for the union, Rehana Azam, said: "One million public sector workers have been left in limbo by this cloak and dagger briefing on the last day of Parliament."

"This is not the way to treat dedicated public sector workers who have already suffered eight years of real terms pay cuts.

"They haven’t even made a proper announcement - it just shows how out of touch Theresa May is.

"In another cynical bid to save her own skin, she is riding roughshod over the proper pay mechanisms - which should independently review public sector wages."

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