Act now on the public pay cap or face the consequences at the next election say GMB 6 Oct 2017

GMB Wales and South West are urging the local councils across the region to lift the public pay cap and ease the burden on hard pressed public sector workers.

With the political conference season in full swing, public sector pay continues to capture high levels of interest and debate. Whilst last week the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave an unequivocal commitment to end the pay cap, so far the Tories have failed to present a common position.

In recent months the GMB has been running a national Pay Pinch campaign, seeking to influence the government into dropping the Public sector pay cap and giving public sector employees a much needed pay increase. Latest research has shown that since 2010 Public sector workers are around £9,000 worse off than they were in 2010, and stand to lose up to a further £4,000 in the next three years.

Bridgend Labour group backing the Pay Pinch Campaign

The campaign makes the overall business case for treating public sector workers fairly, however government Ministers claim that the country cannot afford to pay for any pay rise.

Regional Secretary John Phillips described the cap as an act of Economic illiteracy:

“This is simply an act of economic illiteracy, ignoring the costs of applying a brake to the pay of valued public servants. There are direct costs to not lifting the cap and they include recruitment and retention problems, morale and motivational issues as well as millions of pounds of lost tax, national insurance, VAT, not including excessive expenditure on agency staff.”

“Quite quickly the question begins to change to assessing the impact of not awarding a decent pay increase than the implications of actually doing so.”

“Clearly, setting aside new money is imperative, and it's simply not acceptable to expect workers to fund their own pay rise through job losses as Boris Johnson suggested.”

Whilst there is some emerging evidence of a slight relaxation of the government’s policy in specific areas like for prison staff and the police, with inflation running at 2.9%, pay rises of 1.7% and 2.0% respectively don't amount to a real-terms increase. There is also no indication from the government that they will lift the public pay cap for other public sector workers who have had their pay frozen since 2011.

“The GMB's policy on pay has received widespread support from several Councils in both the English and Welsh parts of the region, with motions being passed in chambers in Caerphilly, Bridgend, RCT, Torfaen, Plymouth, Cheltenham and Gloucestershire Authorities.

Plymouth Labour group backing the Pay Pinch

“We’re keen for other councils to come on board and make their position clear. I know that some authorities are currently working on proposals, however many others have not indicated that they have begun looking at the issue," said John Phillips.

“Many authorities that haven’t addressed the issue are in politically volatile areas like Carmarthen and the Vale of Glamorgan. Have no doubt that this issue will be at the very heart of the next election whenever it comes. In Preseli Pembrokshire and the Vale of Glamorgan this will be the issue that tips the majorities either way.

“Having a fair deal at work must involve awarding real wage increases to those whose efforts on behalf of the aged and vulnerable often go both unnoticed and beyond the proverbial extra mile.

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