Monday, September 11, 2017

Scrap the Cap.

Union leaders are demanding a 5% pay increase for all public sector workers and threatening co-ordinated strike action against the government’s pay cap.

 Representatives of 13 unions agreed at the TUC conference that money needed to be found to retain and reward millions of nurses, teachers, council staff and civil servants. Delegates also disclosed that three public sector unions were planning to canvass members over coordinated strike action. 

Mark Serwotka, head of the PCS union, which represents civil servants, explained during a debate at the annual congress in Brighton.
“We have a weak government with no mandates to implement further public sector pay restraint and now is the time not just for resolution but for the action required to defeat this government pay cap and put real-terms pay increases in the pockets of our members,” he said. “We know concessions are coming, we know they [ministers] are going to cherry-pick, they are going to attempt to divide and rule. Our message is simple: scrap the cap. We all deserve a pay rise,” adding, “There are no deserving or undeserving public sector workers.” The PCS is balloting all of its members on industrial action, a move being followed by the Prison Officers Association and the University and College Union. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could have coordinated ballots in the run-up to the budget,” Serwotka said.
The Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis, also spoke in favour of the 5% demand. “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,” he said. “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 calls it prudence and restraint. I call it inhuman. We must commit to marching, demonstrating and lobbying, not just in Westminster but in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh too.”
The NASUWT teachers union said the average pay award for teachers last year was 0.6%. Other unions supporting the 5% motion include the Royal College of Midwives, GMB, Unite, the Society of Radiographers and the FDA.

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