In November Rishi Sunak announced his spending review. From the moment he started talking about pay it was clear the government wanted to divide and conquer by pitting private sector against public sector. What Rishi and the government fail to consider is that we live in households which have people working both the public and private sectors. Capping pay rises for public sector workers impacts on households overall where there is often a public sector worker and a private sector worker.
The announcement will mean a real term pay cut for millions who work across public services
The announcement will mean a real term pay cut for millions who work across public services which equates to £520 less next year for a nursery nurse, £659 less for a social worker and £510 less a year for a local government admin officer. Although there will be a £250 pay rise per year for anyone earning under £24k it’s no where near good enough to recognise the work that has, and is still being done, during a global health crisis.
It is a huge blow for all those people who through the pandemic have put their lives on the line to care for other people. We need to be clear that all public sector workers are key workers – you can’t deliver safe healthcare without domestics, porters, admin staff, sterile services as examples, it’s the whole team. Workers who have gone above and beyond should be recognised for the sacrifices they have made. It isn’t right that workers who already can’t make ends meet and can’t pay the bills at the end of the month are having to go to foodbanks, people who deliver essential services should be valued and rewarded by the government.
It isn’t right that workers who already can’t make ends meet and can’t pay the bills at the end of the month are having to go to foodbanks
The government says they are making difficult decisions and there isn’t an alternative. However, nothing was said about what they are going to do about the amount of tax being uncollected through tax dodging. Recent research by Public Services International, commissioned by UNISON, shows that transnational corporations and wealthy individuals avoid paying close to £30bn in taxes a year, which is the equivalent of:
- 72% of the UK health budget;
- the salaries of 840,000 nurses;
- or 25% of the UK education budget.
Key workers in the public sector and the private sector or indeed all workers should be paid a living wage so they can pay their bills and feed their families, it should not and is not about ‘us vs them’. The two sectors work together and trying to divide is a way for the Government to justify their actions. Let’s not forget public sector workers spend the majority of their wages in local shops, restaurants and leisure which is desperately needed right now.