18 September 2017
A poll conducted by The Independent has shown that most Britons oppose the public sector pay cap.
An enormous 62% of respondents said now is the “right time” to raise wages in the public sector, while 51% said they believe restraints on pay (first put in place by the Coalition Government in 2010) have always been unjustified.
Only 14% of people thought the pay cap, which limits raises to 1% – significantly below the level of inflation, and thus representing a cut in wages in real terms – should not be lifted.
Meanwhile, only 26% thought that the decision to put a pay cap in place seven years ago was a good one.
The Institute of Employment Rights recommends sectoral collective bargaining as the best way to regulate wage levels. Through this process, which is a commonly used mechanism among many European countries, trade unions and employers’ associations negotiate for minimum pay and conditions across entire industries. Sectoral collective bargaining was once more widespread in the UK, but successive anti-trade union laws put in place since the Thatcher years have weakened the power of unions to negotiate on behalf of the workers, and the employment relationship is becoming increasingly one-way, with workers left only with the (non)choice of accepting what they are offered, or having no job at all.
Read more about our proposals in the Manifesto for Labour Law
Our recommendations received the support of the Labour Party Leadership, whose 20-point Fair Deal at Work in their 2017 General Election Manifesto was informed by our Manifesto for Labour Law. At TUC Congress 2017, John McDonnell announced that the Labour Party would use our proposals as a blueprint for reform.