Sunday, July 29, 2007

2%? No thanks!

Normal blogging can now be resumed as I have returned from a few days away. Still no sign of the Preliminary Agenda for the TUC – which should be online here tomorrow.

The biggest issue for the public service unions must surely be the Government’s 2% pay norm, which they want to impose on us for several years, even though the Retail Price Index is increasing at more than twice that level. I understand that both PCS and the NUT will have motions on public sector pay - and that UNISON will therefore be able to consider appropriate amendments. With our two largest service groups facing a real terms pay cut right now we do need to give this issue a high priority.

The response to the consultation with UNISON members in local government should be with us shortly – if this doesn’t show a large majority for rejecting 2% I’ll be shocked. I note that the Government have hinted in public at a tiny movement on pay in the National Health Service, but without breaching the 2% limit.

We need to break the 2% limit as soon as we can – or public service workers face a downward spiral of pay and morale. The question is not whether or not there will be massive strike action over public service pay – only when.

The sooner we take united action and break the 2% limit the better for our members – and the better for Labour’s election prospects! If the Government get away with 2% this year it will be that bit harder to get our members to vote for a fourth term - and it will be increasingly likely that the fight over public sector pay will break out at a time which will be even more electorally damaging.

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