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‘We won’t be fooled’

Public sector wage pain set to continue despite new pay rise
Hajera Blagg, Friday, July 19th, 2019

Unite has lambasted a limited public sector pay rise as a “last gasp attempt by a failed government” after the Times reported that some groups of public sector workers are set to be in line for a small pay hike.


Armed forces are reportedly set to receive a 2.9 per cent rise, while teachers and school staff will receive 2.75 per cent. Police officers, dentists and consultants will get 2.5 per cent, and senior civil servants 2 per cent.


The pay rises are in line or just above inflation, but still will not reverse a decade of pay freezes or below-inflation pay rises that have decimated public sector workers’ living standards under austerity.


Since 2010 public sector pay was frozen for two years across the board, after which it was capped at 1 per cent until prime minister Theresa May announced last year that the cap will end.


Although some are governed under separate pay review mechanisms, the majority of public sector workers will not benefit from the latest reported pay rise.


This includes all local government workers – from refuse to social workers – all NHS employees across all professional and staff areas, all employees of central government departments and arms length bodies whose pay follows the civil services setting, as well as many housing association workers.


Unite has also highlighted that the latest public sector pay rise will come from existing budgets – meaning cuts will have to be made elsewhere.


Responding to reports in today’s Times newspaper, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said, “Millions of hard working public servants will not be fooled by this last gasp attempt by a failed government and a failed prime minister to curry favour with an austerity hit workforce that has had to deliver essential services against the backdrop of savage cuts.


“Read the small print and there is no new money from the government for these below inflation pay rises which exclude nearly two thirds of public sector workers, including health and those in local government, who have endured years of pay freezes and real terms pay cuts,” she added.


“This public sector pay rise will not ease the wage pain of hard up workers and with no additional funding will squeeze services further.


“If Theresa May was serious about recognising the invaluable contribution the country’s public servants make to the lives of millions each day then she would have offered a properly funded pay rise which tackled the pay misery of the last nine years of a Tory government.”


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