Parliament debates UNISON’s public sector pay cap petition

UNISON’s petition calling on the government to scrap the public sector pay cap and give NHS, council, police and schools staff a decent pay rise will be debated today (Monday) in Parliament.

Ahead of the debate, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis has written to the Prime Minister to ask her why the Budget failed to address the woeful lack of pay rises for public service employees.

Today’s parliamentary debate is the result of UNISON’s ‘Pay Up Now!’ petition, which has gained nearly 150,000 signatures since it went live in September. It demands an immediate pay rise for all public service staff, that’s at least in line with inflation.

In the letter Dave Prentis writes: “For more than seven years, public service workers have been getting steadily poorer as the gap between their wage rises and the cost of living has grown.

“As a result they’ve been left thousands of pounds a year worse off, which has had a profound impact on the finances of millions of families, and on local economies, as households with public service employees rein in their spending.

“Services too are suffering as many experienced staff from hospitals, local councils, schools and police forces, opt for less stressful, better paid jobs outside the public sector, and those same services struggle to attract sufficient numbers of new recruits.

“Even though there was talk in the Budget of more money for health workers, reports since suggest that NHS staff may have to pay for their own wage rise, a hardly acceptable state of affairs after years of pay pain.

“Each and every month, the value of public sector pay packets is in decline. And with inflation now 4%, the gap between what dedicated public servants are paid, and what they can afford, grows ever wider.”

Before the debate takes place, uniformed NHS employees and schools staff will take part in a photo opportunity on the river bank in Lambeth, opposite the Houses of Parliament.

As the sun sets at 4pm, on the south side of the river (between the steps and the Big Ben viewpoint seen here), the public service workers will join Dave Prentis to spell out their demands in giant lit-up signs, with Parliament as a backdrop.