Public sector pay cap FINALLY lifted as police get 2% more
- Downing Street has finally confirmed the public sector pay cap is being eased
- Police are to get 2 per cent extra while prison staff are in line for 1.7 per cent rise
- 1 per cent limit has been in force for years as government tried to balance books
Jeremy Corbyn today vowed to give all public sector workers the pay rise they ‘need’ as he slammed ministers for deploying ‘divide and rule’ tactics.
The Labour leader hit out at Theresa May after No 10 announced the police and prison staff would be first in line for a pay rise.
The 1 per cent cap on public sector pay was effectively ended today but most workers will not benefit until 2018/19.
Mr Corbyn told the TUC conference in Brighton the decision was unacceptable because it attempts to ‘play one sector off against the other’.
He did not say exactly what pay rise he would offer. Hiking all public sector pay in line with inflation costs about £4billion a year while leading unions today demanded a 5 per cent hike costing £9billion.
Mr Corbyn told delegates: ‘A pay cut is a pay cut. We must be united in breaking the pay cap for all workers.’
No 10 earlier announced that this year police would get 2 per cent extra – 1 per cent in extra basic salary and 1 per cent more as a one-off lump sum – while prison staff would get 1.7 per cent.
Other public sector workers are in line for pay rises from 2018/2019 but each department will have to separately lobby the Treasury for cash.
PCS union leader Mark Serwotka branded the Government announcement a ‘pile of crap and not good enough’ today.
The GMB union derided the increases for police and prison staff as ‘smoke and mirror politics’.
Theresa May (pictured in No 10 last week) has been under intense pressure to ease the burden of austerity on workers
There will be complaints the increases for police and prison staff still amount to another real terms pay cut, as new figures this morning showed the CPI rate of inflation running at 2.9 per cent.
Announcing the end to public sector pay restraint after seven years, a No10 spokesman said: ‘The government takes a balanced approach to public spending, dealing with our debts keeping our economy strong while also investing in our public services.’
‘In this process going forward, departments will work with the Chief Secretary to discuss their work force and provide evidence on pressing areas, particularly in relation to recruitment and retention.’
No 10 praised Britain’s ‘world class’ public sector workers and insisted they deserve ‘fulfilling jobs that are fairly rewarded’.
The 1 per cent cap has been in place since 2013, and the coalition had imposed a freeze before that.
PCS union leader Mark Serwotka (file image) branded the rise a ‘pile of crap and not good enough’ today
Police officers are to get a 1 per cent rise for this year, plus a bonus of another 1 per cent – although that will not automatically be added to their base salary.
The PM’s spokesman said: ‘The Government is to accept the recommendations of the prison service pay review body to give staff in prisons a pay increase of 1.7 per cent on average, recognising the need to recruit and retain staff with the right experience and expertise to keep our prisons safe and secure.
‘The Government has also agreed to award police officers an additional 1 per cent non-consolidated for 2017/18 on top of a 1 per cent increase in their basic pay.’
The spokesman added: ‘The Government recognises that in some parts of the public sector particularly in areas of skill shortage maybe required to deliver world class public services, including in return for public sector productivity.
‘Cabinet agreed the detail of 2018/19 pay remits for specific pay review bodies will be discussed and agreed as part of the Budget process and will be set out in due course.’
Unite leader Len McCluskey (file image) told BBC Radio 4’s Today that an illegal strike was ‘very likely’ if the public sector pay cap was not lifted
Unite chief Len McCluskey has come under fire for vowing to break the law by launching crippling strikes even if ballots do not achieve the 50 per cent turnout threshold.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon sparked fury today by repeatedly refusing to condemn the idea of illegal strikes during an interview.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady warned ministers yesterday they cannot ‘cherry pick’ which workers get to have a rise.
And trade union bigwigs lined up to demand that all public sector be given a five per cent hike in a move costing around £7.2billion a year.
Delegates at the Trade Union Congress (TUC) conference voted unanimously in favour of ‘collective action’ including industrial action ‘when required’.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured last week in Northampton) has been demanding an end to austerity saying the government should borrow more
Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services union, warned his workers will form picket lines unless they are given big pay rises.
Speaking at the TUC conference in Brighton yesterday, he said: ‘There is a crisis in public sector pay and now is the time for action.
‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could have coordinated ballots in the run up to the Budget to give May and Hammond something to think about?
‘If they don’t scrap the cap and give rises to us all, we will take united coordinated strike action and to defeat this Government to put money in our members’ pay packets.’
The highly-respected Institute for Fiscal Studies said giving all public sector workers a five per cent pay rise would cost a staggering £7.2bn a year.
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