A public sector pay freeze, which chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce next week, is a grave insult to millions of hard-working government workers whose dedication has kept vital services running during the pandemic.
The chancellor will set out his spending review next week, giving details of how much money will be allocated to different departments during the 2020-21 financial year. And he is expected to make the case for pay restraint to reflect a fall in private sector earnings this year. So once again it is UK government workers, who have suffered a 20% real-terms pay cut because of pay freezes and caps over the past decade who have to pay for a crisis.
This year during a time of crisis our members have:
- delivered the job retention scheme
- dealt with millions of Universal Credit claims
- kept our justice system running
- kept government running
- kept our transport network open
- kept our borders open and secure.
It is therefore crucial that PCS members and supporters show their disgust at the plans by signing our online petition for fair pay for UK government workers and force MPs to debate the issue in parliament. The petition has been signed by more than 75,000 people and once it reaches 100,000 it must be considered for debate in parliament.
It shows a strange sense of priority by this government that on the day that the Tax Justice Network has produced a damning report about the scale of global tax avoidance that the UK government is seeking to save billions from the wages of public sector workers, rather than clamping down on tax dodging corporations.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Civil servants along with millions of other public sector workers have kept the country running throughout this pandemic and the last thing they deserve is another pay freeze.
“Our members have been providing Universal Credit, collecting tax, securing our borders and prisons in this unprecedented pandemic and have already suffered 10 years of pay restraint.
"Private companies have been allowed to secure lucrative Covid contracts to the tune of £17 billion, yet ministers are not prepared to reward their own staff for all the incredible work they have done this year.
"If Rishi Sunak fails to pay public sector workers properly, there will be widespread anger and industrial action cannot be ruled out.”