NO EFFORT has been made by the government to end the 1 per cent public-sector pay cap despite fierce opposition and research proving how damaging the policy is.
The pay cap which has seen public-sector workers suffer real-terms cuts in wages was not discussed at a Cabinet meeting yesterday morning, according to PM Theresa May’s spokesman. This is contrary to suggestion that it would be on the agenda.
Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Monday night that the government’s approach to the public-sector pay cap had not changed.
He has come under pressure from some ministers to ease the pay restraint that has been imposed on public-sector workers since 2012, following a two-year freeze.
Labour referred to an academic study — quietly published by the government on Monday — showing school teachers saw a drop in average earnings in real terms from £25-an-hour in 2005 to £22-an-hour in 2015, while police officers saw hourly earnings fall from £20 to £18, and doctors from £38 to £30.
A total of 17 unions with members ranging from nurses and dentists to hospital cleaners and consultants have warned ministers that another year of pay restraint will cause long-lasting damage to the health service, its patients and its workforce.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “The fact that some of the pillars of our community and the public sector such as teachers, doctors and police officers are seeing their pay cut exposes the double standards of a government that likes to praise their work but will not actually truly reward it.”
Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack added that a new pay offer for firefighters “lacks detail and credibility” and did not reflect the dangerous work of firefighters and their falling living standards.
The proposed agreement is worth 2 per cent on basic pay this year and a potential 3 per cent rise from April 2018.
Pay in the fire and rescue service is not covered by a pay review body but is subject to collective bargaining through a joint national council representing fire and rescue services across Britain.