George Osborne has today announced that public sector pay increases will be capped at 1 % for the 2 financial years beginning April 2012, once our current pay freeze has ended. He also announced even more public sector job losses.
Public sector workers have had their pay frozen for 2 years - because of the increasing rate of inflation this amounts to an estimated 6% pay cut. On top of that the proposals for public sector pensions amount to another 3% pay cut, so the news that our pay will increase by no more than 1% over the next 2 years is another massive kick in the teeth for our members. Many of our members are low paid women who do important work, such as caring for the elderly and disabled, children and young people. They are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet and today's news will make that even worse. If we didn't already have enough reasons to take action on 30th November we've now got another one. Tomorrow's industrial action will be the biggest in a generation and will send a powerful message to the government that ordinary working people will no longer pay for the financial crisis with cuts to our pay, pensions, jobs and services, and we hope that members of the public will join our campaign.
As George Osborne has revealed in his Autumn statement there is no growth in the economy - quite simply his plan isn't working. Those in work are seeing their wages failing to keep up with inflation and are also worried about job security and so aren't spending. Thousands of both public and private sector workers are being made redundant, unemployment is increasing and as a result tax revenue is falling, while the cost of benefits is rising. The private sector are not creating new jobs and in fact George Osborne's announcement of a youth contract demonstrates that the only way the private sector will create jobs is if the government pays them to do so. Quite simply the government's massive public spending cuts are going too far and too fast, and they are damaging the economic recovery. They are also hitting some groups like young people and women particularly badly. He needs to come up with a plan B fast - either that or we need a new government.