Gaffe-prone chancellor Philip Hammond has been urged to give public sector workers, battered by pay austerity since 2010, a generous pay rise in Wednesday’s budget.
“Since the Tories came to power in 2010, they have targeted the public sector for swingeing cuts that have left the workforce with eroding pay packets as they try to do more with fewer resources,” says Unite assistant general secretary for the public sector, Gail Gartmail.
“June’s general election showed that the public has rejected the obsession with the blinkered ideology of austerity and voted for a loosening of the purse strings, so there is more investment in the NHS, education, local government and infrastructure projects.
“To make this happen, the public sector needs a generous pay settlement in the budget to catch up on the pay they have lost in real terms since 2010 and attract the dedicated staff we need to sustain vital public services.”
She added, “Such pay rises need to be properly funded ie ‘new’ money and not taken from existing allocated budgets.”
The Chancellor, who is in political hot water after claiming there were ‘no unemployed people in the UK, was the focus of an open letter from )public sector trade union leaders – including Unite general secretary Len McCluskey – calling for the end of ‘the pay misery’ for five million workers providing public services.
“Since 2013, most annual public sector pay rises have been limited to an average of one per cent a year, however, inflation is far outstripping pay rises. The consumer prices index (CPI) was three per cent in October,” says Cartmail.
“Public sector workers are, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more skilled and experienced, yet pay packets are shrinking with every passing month and they are now worse off than private sector counterparts.
“The Chancellor is likely to announce pay increases for some public sector workers on Wednesday – but this may be linked to productivity. What new data from the ONS shows is that, for example, the NHS is already benefiting from heightened skills and experience – thus – better productivity.
“In local government cuts have reduced staff numbers to breaking point. ‘Enough is enough’ – there is a limit to how far workers can be pushed to do more for less”.