Teachers and nurses have warned of taking industrial strike action unless ministers remove the pay cap across the public sector. The warning comes after the government announced the 1 per cent pay cap will be lifted for police and prison officers.
The recommendations for police and prison officers are yet to be published by the pay review body and are waiting a government response, which the Prime Minister Theresa May has said will happen “shortly.” The genuine feel is that ministers will accept the advice given for police and prison officers pay for 2017-2018 by the pay review body, resulting in the first pay rise above 1 per cent for seven years.
Unions are pressing for a 5 per cent increase for millions of nurses, teachers, council staff, civil servants and other workers who have had to endure a pay freeze or 1 per cent cap for seven years.
In July the government announced that teachers would only receive an overall 1 per cent pay rise in 2017-18, although those at the top and bottom of the main pay scale would see their salaries rise by 2 per cent.
The NASUWT teachers union said the average pay award for teachers last year was 0.6 per cent.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders’ union, said that failing to include teachers in the pay announcement was “short-sighted and wrong,” due to ongoing recruitment and retention problems.
A national rally will be held in Westminster in October and the TUC will seek a meeting with the Chancellor.
Ministers are expected to accept recommendations for higher pay rises for police and prison officers, but unions warned against “cherry picking” of workers.
John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, said: “The next Labour government will lift the public sector pay cap for all public sector workers and we are demanding nothing less than that from this shambolic Government.
“The crisis in our public services is a crisis made in Downing Street. The pay review bodies have been operating under the constraint of a Tory 1 per cent cap for seven years.
“The pay cap must now be lifted across the whole public sector rather than by playing one group of workers off against another.”
National Education Union (formerly the National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers) concluded the threat of strikes is a possibility. Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The pay cap needs to be lifted for all public sector workers if we are to protect our public services, which are an essential part of everyone’s daily life.”
“The cap was not lifted this year for teachers and various other groups, resulting in pay being cut still further in real terms. We know that teacher supply is in crisis and, without sufficient teachers, the education of children will suffer. Giving teachers a fair pay rise is a crucial part of solving that problem.”
September 13, 2017