Unions renew call to end public sector pay cap

coins cash moneyUnions have renewed calls to end the public sector pay cap after a leading thinktank warned public servants would become the first group to suffer a cut in real wages since 2014. 

A report from the ONS and the Resolution Foundation said the situation for the UK’s 5.4m public servants would worsen as pay restraint and high inflation impacted on their pay and living standards.

Adam Corlett, an economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “While rising inflation is applying the brakes to real pay growth across the board, the outlook for public sector pay looks particularly weak.

“Pay is now actually falling and, worse, is expected to continue for the rest of the parliament, with levels at the end of the parliament dropping back to levels last seen in 2004.

“Although public sector pay restraint is important to the government’s deficit reduction plans, falling real pay is likely to see increasing recruitment strains.

“The government should be planning now how to manage those strains, alongside any wider changes to policies like migration that will also have an impact.”

In response, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “There is now an overwhelming and unarguable case to end the public sector pay cap to prevent a further decline in living standards in the coming years.

“All the analysis shows wages across the economy are stagnating, but the government can kickstart the revival by lifting the 1% cap in the public sector.

“Since 2010, the government’s own workforce has lost out more than any other sector and these are the ‘just managing’ families the prime minister promised she would help.”

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “After years of harsh pay restraint, those delivering our public services are facing yet more financial hardship. School staff, nurses and council workers are struggling to make ends meet.

“If ministers don’t reverse their damaging policy of zero or one per cent rises it will be harder to recruit new staff or keep those with experience.”

And RCM Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications, Jon Skewes, said: “This is further proof that we are short-changing our hard working midwives and other NHS staff who have already seen a substantial fall in the value of their pay, despite a rising cost of living.

“In October last year the RCM calculated that if an average midwife had seen their salary rise with inflation since 2010, their salary would be over £6,000 higher now. This will increase to over £9,000 if public sector pay restraint continues to 2020 as the government intends.

“We call again on the government to lift the 1% cap on public sector pay, so that the dedication, commitment and skill of our midwives and other NHS staff is recognised and fairly rewarded.”

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