by Rory MacKinnon writing in the Morning Star
CON-DEM attacks on public-sector pay have robbed workers of enough cash to feed their families for eight months straight — from now until the general election.
Trade Union Congress (TUC) researchers said yesterday that public-sector workers had lost the equivalent of £2,245 a year through freezes and below-inflation rises since 2010.
Official figures put the cost of a typical family’s weekly shop at £60 — meaning that the lost wages would have kept kitchens stocked for 37 weeks.
The TUC’s shocking study comes on the eve of tomorrow’s enormous strike over years of real-terms pay cuts.
Workers across the country — from school crossing guards to NHS staff, teachers to refuse workers — will walk out to demand an end to the government’s assault.
Two million people belonging to unions including PCS, GMB, FBU, RMT, the National Union of Teachers, Unison and Unite are set to join picket lines.
“Wages are falling further behind the cost of living and in the last four years some civil servants have seen their income fall by 20 per cent,” said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.
“The meagre economic recovery is only benefiting the rich — we need a recovery for everyone.
“We need an alternative to cuts where we invest in public services to help our economy to grow, where jobs are created, not cut, and where we clamp down on the corporate tax dodgers who deprive our economy of tens of billions of pounds a year.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the coalition’s vaunting of an economic recovery had brought no “let up” for ordinary people on their payroll.
“Instead several more years of penny-pinching and frugal living lie ahead,” she said.
“In local government — and right across the public sector — workers believe that ministers neither care about nor understand the pressures on their already stretched household budgets.
“Meanwhile the government seems happy for the public purse to miss out on billions through income tax cuts for the wealthy and corporation tax reductions for big businesses, yet says there’s no money to give a decent pay rise to struggling care assistants, nursery workers, dinner ladies and other local authority employees.
“Public servants have understandably had enough — now is the time for ministers to start listening and to realise that it was never going to be possible to keep the lid on the public sector forever.”
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