Damaging effects of public sector pay freeze
Damaging effects of public sector pay freeze

Northumberland’s Labour Group say it’s concerned about the damaging effects of the public sector pay freeze.

Labour Group leader Susan Dungworth said: “Our public sector workers have kept working all through the pandemic, protecting us and providing vital services, so it feels like a total slap in the face for the government to freeze their pay. So much for clapping for care workers – just empty gestures designed for the photo opportunity.

“Many public sector workers go way above and beyond what the job requires, because they are dedicated to their work and the people they serve.

“It’s just not an argument to say this freeze has happened because many private sector workers have had their pay cut or lost their jobs. It is harmful to play one group of workers off against another in this way. Furthermore, those other servants of the people, MPs, are not having their pay frozen. It is not fair and not justifiable.”

The pay freeze will hit at least:

·  90% of police officers (sergeant and below) – that’s 189,000 junior police officers on the frontline

·  80% of fire service officers (watch manager and below) – that’s 50,400 fire service officers

·  75% junior prison officers – that’s 13,500 of them

·  80% of secondary teachers – 372,000

·  75% of primary teachers – 336,0004

Labour believes this freeze puts targets for police recruitment in jeopardy. Pay review bodies including the School Teachers’ Review Body, and Police Remuneration Body have linked pay to the ability to recruit.

The Chancellor also didn’t reaffirm the government’s manifesto commitment to ensure teachers’ starting salaries reach £30,000 by 2022. That commitment will be undermined and may prove impossible for the government to achieve, as a result of this key worker pay freeze

Susan Dungworth added: “More than that, a pay freeze takes vital demand out of the economy, and will slow the economic recovery. The TUC has found that public sector pay increases could boost the country’s finances significantly, with over half of the cost coming back in a stronger economy and higher tax income for the government.”

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