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McDonnell to back civil servant's rally over public sector pay cap

JOHN MCDONNELL is to join public-sector workers in Parliament today at a rally blasting the government for trying to “hoodwink” us into believing it has scrapped the pay cap.

The shadow chancellor will attend a briefing by civil servants’ union PCS to push the case for abandoning the austerity agenda altogether ahead of next week’s Spring Statement.

Dr Faiza Shaheen, director of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) think tank, will present new research showing that Whitehall budgets have been slashed so dramatically that departments will not be able to afford well-below-inflation pay awards of 1 per cent.

Ms Shaheen said: “The Conservatives are attempting to hoodwink the public into believing that the public-sector pay cap is over while knowing full well that it isn’t.

“In doing so they are playing with the livelihoods of five million public-sector workers, some of whom are being pushed into poverty and using foodbanks.”

She said Class analysis “shows what [Chancellor] Philip Hammond knows — lifting the public-sector pay cap either means further job losses or cutting public services.”

Ms Shaheen pointed out that the “ideological” austerity experiment “has resulted in widespread hardship, a flagging economy and, ironically, missed deficit reduction target.

“Increasing public-sector pay will boost the economy and bring a welcome end to this madness.”

PCS has submitted a detailed claim for a 5 per cent or £1,200 rise, whichever is the greater, and a real living wage of at least £10 an hour.

General secretary Mark Serwotka will call for the cap to be “smashed.”

He said: “Our members have suffered years of pay restraint. Now is the time for government to act to support its own staff.

“Civil servants do vital front line and back office work which keeps the country moving and working.”

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, shadow trade unions minister Ian Lavery and University College Union general secretary Sally Hunt are also expected to attend the rally in Committee Room 12 from 6pm.

PCS members have already been lobbying their MPs to push for an end to the cap.

In a consultation last year, 99 per cent said enough funds should be provided to scrap the cap, with 79 per cent backing industrial action to defeat Tory pay restraint.

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