Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The pay freeze - public servants paying a tithe to the bankers

A warm welcome to the web to the new blog from UNISON's Camden local government branch - who are pointing out that, in the third year of a pay freeze, local government workers have suffered a dramatic fall in our living standards (http://camdenunison.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/a-3-year-pay-freeze-is-a-massive-pay-cut-in-real-terms/).

Since the date from which our last pay rise was effective (1 April 2009) the Retail Price Index has risen by 11%. It takes £111 today to purchase what would have cost £100 back then - or, put another way, each £100 you earn now is only "worth" as much as £90 could back then.

In effect - for a full time worker who has had no promotion or incremental progression to soften the blow - it's as if you had agreed to forego your pay for one day a fortnight without reducing your hours. This is a tithe (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tithe) paid not to the Church, but to the new religion of Mammon in the cause of bailing out the banks.

This is a dramatic decline in living standards over a short period. UNISON branches with members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland whose pay is set in the National Joint Council negotiations were last week sent a circular giving us four weeks over the summer holidays to consult members on proposals for a "substantial" pay claim.

We need to start alerting our members to the cause of rising overdrafts, squeezed household bugets and increasing hardship - the pay freeze.

The devastating impact of the pay freeze will only be reversed by industrial action, and industrial action will only become possible when we start to have the argument for it with our members.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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