Unions call for an end to the public sector pay cap
Speaking at TUC in Brighton a week after his union approved a national ballot of all public sector members to support breaking the public sector pay cap, PCS general secretary Mark Serwtoka will say: “Austerity has failed. Now more than ever it is time to invest in our public services and the millions of workers that keep our services running in the face of government attacks on their jobs and pay.
“We are clear, pay misery for public servants must end. Yes nurses need a pay rise, but so do the porters and cleaners that keep our hospitals running. So do Jobcentre workers, our border staff and the HMRC workers who collect the tax that pays for the public services we all rely on.
“All public sector workers deserve a pay rise. A united public sector wide campaign is the best way to pressurise the government to end the pay cap for all, and we are absolutely clear that the time for action is now.”
The PCS motion calls on the TUC to develop a co-ordinated strategy of opposition to the pay cap within the public sector including; the sharing and coordinating of bargaining timetables and pay demands, campaign activities, tactics, ballots and industrial action.
The TUC is calling for an end to the pay cap, with Frances O’Grady saying: “The Prime Minister talks about the ‘sacrifice’ public sector workers have made, as if it were their choice. Public servants weren’t given a say in the matter. They’ve had seven years of pay freezes and pay cuts imposed upon them.
“They have been forced to work harder for less, while the government has lined the pockets of corporate Britain with tax giveaway after tax giveaway.
“On October 17th, public servants will rally on Parliament Square. And send a clear a message to Mrs May: five million hardworking public servants need a pay rise. The public backs it. Now just tell the Treasury to get on with it.”
The position was backed by UNISON, whose general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The government is out of step with the mood of the nation on public sector pay. Over recent months there have been warm words and gratitude for public sector workers, but that won’t pay the bills, buy their children’s school uniform or put petrol in their cars.
“Back in June there was a vote in the Commons to end the public sector pay cap, and give teaching assistants, hospital porters, care workers and other public servants the real and proper pay rises they all need and deserve.
“The government won by just 14 votes. Had only a handful of Conservative MPs stood with their constituents and voted to end the cap then, the result would have been quite different.
“But Theresa May’s government has let down public sector workers and their families up and down the country. We won’t let her forget that, and we won’t let her MPs with small majorities forget that either.
“On Friday we wrote to thousands of UNISON members, reminding them that their local MP has yet to back them on pay and that it’s their votes that will decide who wins these seats at the next election.
“UNISON is determined there won’t be any safe seats for MPs who vote to give themselves above-inflation pay rises. These are the same MPs who are happy for their government to carry on denying teaching assistants, nurses and care workers that long overdue and much-needed wage boost.
“There’s been speculation ministers might decide to single out a particular group of workers, rather than lift the pay cap for everyone. But no one part of the public sector is any more deserving than the rest.
“After seven long years of pay freezes and limits on their wages, ambulance workers, school meals staff, police and community support officers and other public service employees all deserve so much better.”