6 March PCS rally – report gives latest reason for government to act on pay

06 Mar 2018

Ahead of our parliamentary rally on pay this evening (6 March), which we want you to invite your MP to, we’re launching a report which shows the devastating impact of the cuts on government departments and our members’ pay.

Our rally, from 6-8pm in committee room 12 of the House of Commons, is the latest event in our pay campaign. We want you to complete our e-action to urge your MP to attend our rally, to add their voice to our pay claim and commit to lobby ministers to end the pay cap and fully fund above inflation increases.

Speakers at the rally, including our general secretary Mark Serwotka and shadow chancellor John McDonnell, will make the case for fully-funded, above inflation pay rises across the public sector. All public sector workers deserve a pay rise. Whether they are nurses, teachers, refuse workers or civil servants, government pay policy has held back their pay for too long now. The case to end the 1% pay cap is inarguable.

The report by the Class think-tank sets out how the chancellor’s 2017 budget will continue to make departments suffer real-term pay cuts up to 2020. The analysis shows that not only has the government not sought to fund a breaking of the pay cap, in some of the major departments, the resource departmental expenditure limits show significant shortfalls in resources to even meet the 1% pay cap. It is therefore clear that the government is intent on continuing to hold down the pay of its own workforce.

Considerable hardship

The vast majority of our members, and colleagues from across the public sector, have suffered considerable hardship because of years of pay restraint leaving them on average £4,400 worse off in real-terms.

Local economies across the UK have been deprived of nearly £1.7 billion because of the civil service 1% pay cap and freeze, with a devastating impact on local communities.

Civil service pay is set within the Treasury pay remit guidance, but the actual bargaining is delegated to each government department. However, we believe that delegated pay bargaining is a sham, and we advocate a return to national pay bargaining. The report exposes just how ridiculous the notion of any real delegated pay decisions are in practice. Tens of thousands of PCS members voted overwhelmingly to back our campaign of action on pay in a consultative ballot last year.

Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary, called on the government to act to support its own staff: “Our members have suffered years of pay restraint. Now is the time for the government to act to support its own staff. Civil servants do vital front line and back office work which keeps the country moving and working. The time for prevarication is over. Our members – and all public service workers – deserve a pay rise. We demand that the government actd quickly across the civil service to deal with this issue.”

Dr Faiza Shaheen, director of Class said: “The Conservatives are attempting to hoodwink the public into believing that the public sector pay cap is over while knowing full-well that it isn’t. In doing so they are playing with the livelihoods of five million public sector workers, some of whom are being pushed into poverty and using food banks.

“Our analysis shows what Philip Hammond knows – lifting the public sector pay cap either means further job losses or cutting public services – an impossible and unfair choice. The ideological experiment of austerity has resulted in widespread hardship, a flagging economy and, ironically, missed deficit reduction targets. Increasing public sector pay will boost the economy and bring a welcome end to this madness.”

Speakers at the rally include:

  • PCS president Janice Godrich (chair of rally)
  • PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka
  • Shadow chancellor John McDonnell
  • Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail (replacing Len McCluskey who is now unavailable)
  • Louise Regan, NEU president
  • Chris Stephens MP, chair PCS parliamentary group, SNP TU spokesperson
  • Faiza Shaheen, director Class think-tank
  • Ian Lavery MP, shadow minister for trade unions and civil society.

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