Monday, July 06, 2009

Darling, how could you?

The Chancellor is contemplating public sector pay restraint, perhaps including reneging on current multi-year pay deals with teachers and health workers. Meanwhile the Prime Minister is to caution the G8 against fiscal contraction.

Perhaps the Prime Minister should have a word with his own Chancellor? Leaving to one side the question of fairness to low paid public service workers whose pay has fallen behind increases in average earnings in recent years, the public sector pay squeeze advocated by the Chancellor will achieve the dire consequences of the fiscal contraction against which Gordon Brown is warning.

Hold down the pay of teaching assistants, street cleaners and social care workers and the Government will restrain consumer expenditure just at the point at which spending needs a boost to avoid a double dip recession. With one stroke Alistair Darling could complete the alienation of public sector workers from the Labour Party and worsen the economic crisis.

The question confronting the trade unions is whether we can mobilise to prevent this.

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