ONS figures show public-sector staff paid less than private ones
THE government can no longer claim that public-sector workers are “overpaid” to justify its crippling 1 per cent pay cap after its own statistics revealed that they earn less than their private-sector counterparts, union GMB charged yesterday.
Treasury figures obtained by GMB at the weekend show that public-sector workers are paid on average 0.6 per cent less than private-sector workers in similar positions.
The body had initially rejected a freedom of information request and only released the figures after GMB threatened to report it to the Information Commissioners’ Office watchdog, the union claims.
The figures have been reinforced by the government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), which says public-sector pay is 5.5 per cent lower on average than jobs in similarly sized private firms.
GMB national secretary for public services Rehana Azam hit back at the government’s previous claims that public-sector workers are “overpaid” in light of the shocking figures.
“This is nothing short of an attempted cover-up,” she said. “But it’s no wonder that ministers fought tooth and nail to cover up these damning figures.
“The Tories can never again claim that public-sector workers are ‘overpaid’ when the Treasury’s own assessment proves otherwise.
“The average local government worker is paid about £20,000 while teaching assistants are paid just £12,000, and all public-sector workers have lost thousands due to a planned decade of real-terms pay cuts.”
In 2010, the Treasury claimed they were 5.8 per cent better-paid than those in similar roles in private companies.
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Peter Dowd said that the government must stop its “divide-and-rule tactics” and that Chancellor Philip Hammond must lift the 1 per cent public-sector pay cap completely.
Mr Hammond has announced a partial lifting of the pay cap but only for police and prison officers.
Mr Dowd said: “Philip Hammond has sought to pit private-sector workers against public-sector workers, to justify a pay cap which has seen real wages slashed in our public services.
“Hammond’s subterfuge on public-sector pay cannot be allowed to continue … Labour is committed to seeing Parliament and the hard-working public-sector workers receive the answers they deserve around this Tory stitch-up.”