Pressure is growing on Government to lift the public sector pay cap
13 September, 2017, 00:40
The leader of Britain's biggest union has warned that coordinated strikes by workers in the public sector was "on the cards" in protest at the government's pay cap.
"The pay cap must now be lifted across the whole public sector rather than by playing one group of workers off against another".
The Cabinet agreed that "more flexibility" would be shown to help retain and recruit staff and maintain "world class public services", the PM's official spokesman said.
Prison officers will also get a rise beyond the one per cent public sector pay cap.
The 2017/18 awards will be funded from existing departmental budgets.
"Make no mistake, our members across the public services are angry after seven years of pay pinching by the Government".
Labour's shadow justice minister Richard Burgon refused five times to say if Jeremy Corbyn's party would condemn an illegal general strike in a vehicle crash interview this morning.
The Treasury confirmed the police and prison officer rises and the move follows weeks of speculation the freeze may be lifted in response to growing anger about morale in the public sector. "Our executive will be looking to co-ordinate action with other trade unions".
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"The Government has made a mockery of the independence of the Pay Review Body for too long".
Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, told Sky News the announcement amounted to an "insult" and pointed out the rise was still below the inflation rate of 2.9%.
The federation had asked for a 2.8% increase to basic pay, while the Prison Officers Association had called for a 5% increase.
But critics were swift to point out that the police's extra 1% was in fact "non-consolidated" and would be a one-off lump sum just for this financial year. Today's announcement means bills will continue to rise faster than their wages.
The Prime Minister's spokesman said the government would continue to deploy a "balanced approach to public spending" but recognised the need to address recruitment and retention issues in certain parts of the public sector.
Mr Corbyn denounced the Government's announcement as an attempt to play "divide and rule" with public sector workers, and promised that Labour would ditch the cap across the board. A pay cut is a pay cut. At the weekend we were led to believe the pay cap was a thing of the past. We must be united in breaking the pay cap for all workers.
Last month, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the 1% cap would be scrapped from next year.
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