Arrogant Chancellor George Osborne has swiped aside advice from his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and grimly set his sights on scrapping national pay rates for some public workers.
His latest vicious attack on workers is expected in Wednesday's Budget and will allow three government departments to begin setting their own local pay rates.
But Northern Ireland Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has let the cat out the bag by saying he opposes the step - and finance ministers from Scotland and Wales had already expressed their opposition.
Mr Wilson said he had been reassured recently by Treasury ministers that any local pay scheme would not happen soon.
"That assurance was given as little as two weeks ago," he said.
"This proposal addresses a problem that doesn't even exist. There is no evidence that national agreed public-
sector wages create problems for the private sector in recruiting workers.
"Where there are labour shortages it is very often in an area where the private sector is not competing with the public sector."
Mr Osborne is expected to say workers in poorer parts of the country should have their pay frozen or severely restricted for years, until private-sector salaries catch up.
Mr Wilson said the plans would have a "devastating impact" on thousands of people in Northern Ireland as well as tens of thousands of other civil servants around the nation.
"This policy is another excuse to grab cash from devolved administrations and from poorer regions of the UK in an attempt to balance the Treasury books."
Reports say Mr Osborne will give the right to move to local pay rates to the Home Office, Department for Transport and the Department of Work and Pensions as a two-year pay freeze thaws out.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls claimed the plan would end up in a "free-for-all" and it would be difficult to keep public-sector pay under control.
The TUC has warned that the Chancellor's measure will be counter-productive and will widen the gap between north and south.
Although it's been said unions will be consulted they've already launched a torrent of criticism, as well as ruffling some Lib-Dem MPs' feathers.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "George Osborne is desperate to smash an enormous wrecking ball into our public sector.
"It makes no operational sense whatsoever to impose a structure that says a nurse or paramedic in the north-east is worth less than someone doing the same job in the south-east.
"It has everything to do with lowering entry costs for a private sector desperate to get its hands on our services."
Plaid Cymru, Ucatt, PCS, and NASUWT also hit out at the dodgy plans.
And TUC general Secretary Brendan Barber said: "Moving to regional pay will not just reduce the pay of millions of public servants, but hit regional economies outside London and the south-east as people have less to spend."
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