In the 2018 Autumn Budget, chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce that public sector pay rises will be linked to performance and where people live in the UK. The Mirror reports that this ban on “blanket pay rises” will affect 5 million public sector workers, including nurses, teachers, doctors and those working in the emergency services.
Unions and many others have criticised the proposal because it’s such a betrayal. And as lawyer and campaigner Peter Stefanovic pointed out, there’s also a major flaw.
In July, the government announced an end to the 1% public sector pay cap which limited pay rises for six years.
On 21 October, a report in the Telegraph indicated that there will be no “blanket” pay rises for public sector workers. Liz Truss, chief secretary to the treasury, reportedly linked public sector jobs with those in the private sector. She said, “those in the regions…should receive lower pay rises”. She also:
suggested that pay should be tied to performance and that any rises should be accompanied by reforms that aim to make the public sector more efficient.
Many people are furious about this news.
Teachers, nurses and all those in the emergency services work tirelessly every day for very little financial reward. As Stefanovic pointed out, if pay were truly performance related, they should all “be millionaires”, regardless of where they live:
If public sector pay rises are to be based on people's performance presumably our nurses, teachers, firefighters & police will shortly all be millionaires and a large majority of our MP’s will be completely broke https://t.co/KPOLtqh6Vm
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) October 22, 2018
Many, including Labour MP Angela Rayner, also pointed out that this proposal will create “a North/South divide on pay”:
I fought against the imposition of Regional pay when l was the NW Regional Convenor at @NorthWestUNISON It will create a North/South divide on pay. Just pay public service workers the rate for the job irrespective of where they live. Tories attacking public service workers again! https://t.co/biskQofSZd
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) October 22, 2018
And as the GMB union stated, the consequences of this would be devastating:
regional pay will introduce a postcode lottery which will widen inequality and see public sector workers forced to leave poorer areas just to keep the same salary.
Where’s the logic?
And Truss’s ‘logic’ behind the proposals is also flawed. Because as GMB pointed out, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS):
Public sector pay rates are already 5.5% lower than those in comparable roles in the private sector, according to the ONS. The Treasury also estimates that public sector pay rates are lower than those in the private sector.
Public sector pay is already lower than comparable private sector rates – according to the Treasury's own analysis. The ONS found that public sector workers are paid 5.5% less when organisation size is taken into account. https://t.co/qsnzTCq1Ve pic.twitter.com/XforQ90PMA
— Laurence Turner (@larry_turner) October 22, 2018
News that the 1% cap would end coincided with a Resolution Foundation report which established that despite a rise in employment “millions of families” were “worse off” than in 2003. As Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON explained, most public sector workers are already struggling under this Tory government:
Telegraph reporting this morning that some Tory Minister’s are pushing so-called “regional pay” again. It’s a complete non-starter for public sector workers who have already seen their pay fall massively under this Tory government.
— Dave Prentis (@DavePrentis) October 22, 2018
Your turn now…
As Stefanovic also says, many MPs – especially Tories – should, by this logic be totally broke. Because the last eight years of Conservative-led governments have brought nothing but utter chaos to the country. Poverty is rising and more people than ever are struggling financially. It’s time for Tory MPs to learn what that’s really like.
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