UNISON’s National Conference held in Brighton in June confirmed the ongoing commitment to fight against the punitive public sector pay cap.
“It is now time to reverse the constant squeeze on members pay and living standard” the union’s parliament stated in Brighton. The union voted to fight for the real living way across the UK, as set by the Living Wage Foundation and roundly condemned the national living wage introduced by George Osbourne.
The decade between 2010 and 2020 will be the worst decade of pay growth in almost a century. The grim statistics issued by the Houses of Commons Library, is being compounded by the government’s continuing austerity programme (you know, the one where new Prime Minister Teresa May insists we need to adapt to living within our means and not be so greedy); which includes the 1% cap on annual public sector pay increases.
As delegates discussed living standards, pay justice and the living wage, NEC member James Anthony simply said that the government’s attack on pay, benefits and tax credits was “a disgrace”.
Average pay has fallen by 12% since 2010, it is clear that members had not had the appetite for strike action over pay. However the union is reviewing its industrial action tactics in light of the Trade Union Act.
Sinead Liddy of the national young members forum condemned the government’s national living wage, not just for ignoring the under 25’s but for its inadequate rate, “living is not about scraping by. The government has stolen the clothes of the living wage and dressed themselves up as the saviours of the low paid”.
Conference noted the serious problems created by the government forcing councils to pay the national minimum wage, without increasing their budgets to do so. Delegates agreed to develop a national campaign to support the community and voluntary sector, raising awareness of the funding issues, which are having a detrimental effect on workers, families and communities.
Have you been impacted by the public sector pay cap? Let us know in the comments…