Medical

Government backs down over pay freeze for public sector workers

Government backs down over pay freeze for public sector workers

The UK is facing a growing threat of coordinated strikes by public sector workers over the issue of the 1% pay cap.

Prison officers will receive an average pay rise of 1.7 per cent for 2017/2018, while police officers will receive what is effectively a bonus one per cent award on top of their one per cent pay rise, granting them a two per cent boost to pay for the current financial year.

As of now, no new money will be found for the prison and police services to fund the pay rises, which brings the risk of them having to make cuts elsewhere - and that will be controversial.

However, with other public sector workers having to wait longer for any increases, unions now meeting this week for their annual congress have warned industrial action could follow as a "last resort".

David Baker, of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said public sector workers should "show this government our collective strength".

News reports published late on Sunday said ministers were expected to accept recommendations for bigger pay rises this week, paving the way for similar increases for other government employees in future.

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Because the government will announce that the pay of police and prison officers will increase more than that hated, below-inflation 1%.

"However, the Government recognises that in some parts of the public sector, particularly in areas of skill shortage, more flexibility may be required to deliver world-class public services, including in return for improvements to public sector productivity".

"I'm very clear that people are angry and if we don't get that pay rise then the TUC (Trades Union Congress) is certainly ready to assist our unions and coordinate as we always do", Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, the union umbrella group.

Public-sector pay was frozen for all but the lowest earners in 2010 and increases were limited to of 1 percent a year from 2013. Today's announcement means bills will continue to rise faster than their wages.

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said police deserved to be paid suitably for the "immensely demanding role they perform and this simply is not the case". "We asked for 2.8% and provided compelling evidence to support this".

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: "It is good to see the Government finally recognise that the public sector pay cap is no longer sustainable".


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