Sign the petition to scrap the public sector pay cap
UNISON has launched a petition calling the government to scrap the public pay sector cap.
The petition, which is fast approaching 50,000 signatures, will be considered for debate in Parliament if – when – it reaches 100,000.
Written in the name of UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis, the petition reads: “Every single person who works in public services needs and deserve a pay rise. It’s time for the pay cap to be scrapped, for the government to provide additional funding for public sector pay and for employers to put public sector workers pay up now.
“For more than seven years, everyone who works in public services has seen their pay decline, thanks to the public sector pay cap. Inflation is currently at 2.9%, meaning that the cap is a significant annual pay cut for those public service champions – nurses, care workers, teaching assistants, social workers and so many others – who work for all of us. Public sector pay has risen by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016 while the cost of living rose by 22%.”
Speaking at TUC last week in Brighton, Dave Prentis said: “For millions of public service workers struggling to survive, there is no more pressing issue than lifting the pay cap.
“We’ve seen years of brutal austerity and vicious attacks on public services, overseen by an uncaring government whose pay policies are causing real hardship.
“In the first six years of Conservative rule, public sector pay rose by just 4.4%, yet the cost of living soared by 22%. And to rub salt into those wounds, the pay of top bosses rose by a third in one year alone.
“Whilst the rich feather their nests, public service workers struggle to afford the basics. The government call it prudence and restraint – I call it inhuman.
“Every single year it’s getting worse – the care worker who can’t afford the bus back from work, and the healthcare assistant walking home from his shift via the local foodbank. Then there’s the teaching assistant secretly applying for pay day loans, ashamed, frightened that if her boiler finally packs up this winter, her family is a cold snap away from disaster.
“A quarter of UNISON members – 300,000 public service workers – don’t know how they would pay for an unexpected expense. More than three quarters are buying less food and one in ten are missing entire meals to feed their children.
“It’s an outrage, and it’s getting worse. Inflation is three times the level of public sector pay rises. People face spiralling debts that are impossible to repay.
“The noises we’re hearing are encouraging, but scrapping the cap is not enough. We must fight for real pay rises, real funding and real change.
“This government cannot be trusted. Ministers will try to divide us and to cherry pick. They will try to buy some of us off at the expense of others – dangling a carrot in the hope that we’ll back down. Perhaps there will be rises for those in uniforms, when it’s rises for all public service workers that must be uniform.
“We must not fall into their trap. We stand together or we fall together. So we need to be unified and demand real pay rises for every public servant. For the police officer, but also the police community support officer. For nurses, but also care staff, social workers, ambulance workers and healthcare assistants. And for teachers but also teaching assistants, school meals staff and caretakers.
“We must commit to marching, demonstrating and lobbying – not just in Westminster, but in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh too. We need public events in every major city and town across the country, to change the face of politics and hold Conservative MPs to account in their own backyards. And joint ballots for industrial action if all else fails.
“For the past century our movement had been shaped by history. Now is the time for our movement to make history. We need to fight for fairness, injustice and a pay rise for all public service workers now.”
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