The Government has today announced the end of the public sector pay cap for police and prison officers. It has also hinted at ending the pay cap altogether by talking about the need for more flexibility in the future.
"Whilst welcoming this U-turn by the Tory government, the Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) remains highly critical of government policy on public sector pay,” Rugby TUSC spokesperson Pete McLaren told us today. “They should lift the 1% cap for ALL public sector workers immediately. Public sector workers, including nurses, doctors, teachers and firefighters have seen their pay cut by thousands of pounds over the last 7 years. We call for co-ordinated industrial action by public sector trade unions to force the government to change its position.
“Even today’s announcement to give prison officers a 1.7% rise, while police will get a 1% one-off bonus on top of the 1% cap, is way below inflation, which has risen to 2.9%. These are pay cuts in real terms.
"Even more to the point, there will no extra money to fund these small pay increases - they will have to be funded within present departmental budgets. That means other services will be cut back further.
“Today’s announcement by the Tories is deliberately divisive. It suggests it values some public services above others. We have always said that all public sector workers provide vital services for the whole community, and should all be rewarded appropriately.
“There is plenty of money in the economy. Britain is the 5th richest country in the world. There is no need for pay restraint. Austerity could be ended tomorrow: a 5% wealth tax on those earning over £100,000 pa would prevent the need for cuts, as would the collection of taxes worth £120 billion pa that wealthy companies and individuals avoid or evade paying.
“As recently as in the Queen’s speech this June, the Tories refused to end the pay cap. This was supported by local MP Mark Pawsey. It would be interesting to know if he now supports this partial about-turn by his government, and whether he agrees with us that the time has come to end austerity,” Pete McLaren concluded.