Pay cap is slightly lifted – but strikes still loom

The public sector pay-cap has been lifted for Police and Prison Officers, as they will this year receive a pay rise higher than the public sector pay cap, but it will still be an effective cut because living costs are rising faster.

Both groups will be given a rise equating to more than the one per cent cap on increases that has limited public sector workers during years of austerity.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Cabinet this morning agreed a one per cent rise for police in 2017/18, plus a “non consolidated” additional one per cent – giving an effective two per cent rise this year.

Prison officers will be given a 1.7 per cent rise, with the increase funded from within existing budgets in both cases.

However, it will not match or be above the current rate of inflation of 2.9% – so in real terms, their spending power will be lowered.

This has angered Trade Unionists, such as Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC. The TUC are currently in the middle of its annual conference in Brighton.

The Government’s pay announcement is unlikely to quell discontent in many parts of the public sector, including the NHS, with the Royal College of Nursing threatening strike action if a fair rise is not delivered for its members.

Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “It’s a tiny step in the right direction but not nearly enough.

“For seven long years the government’s harsh pay cap has been hurting public sector workers, their families and the services they provide.

“There must be no selective lifting of the cap. No one part of the public sector is any more deserving than the rest. With inflation on the rise, the cap must go for everyone and it must go now.”

by Berk Bektas

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