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Annie Hayes

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Public support fair pay for public sector

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Union calls for public sector wages to keep up with the cost of living and private sector pay is widely backed by the public, a YouGov poll has found.

Ministers say that public sector wage negotiations should be based on the Consumer Prices Index – a measure of inflation that excludes housing. Yet 90% of adults believe that ‘when working out the cost of living faced by people who work, the government should include the cost of housing and energy bills’.

A similarly high proportion, 79%, also agree that ‘the government should ensure that the pay of public servants (such as teachers, NHS staff and civil servants) keeps up with the cost of living including housing and energy bills’.

A further 68% agree that ‘it is unfair if public servants (such as teachers, NHS staff and civil servants) regularly get pay increases lower than those in private companies’.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “This poll shows very wide public support for the fair pay principles at the heart of union campaigning. Voters think that public sector pay should keep up with the cost of living, and that this should include housing. Nor do they want public sector pay to fall behind private sector pay.”

Last week, teachers, health workers, prison officers, civil servants, childcare workers and firefighters lobbyed MPs over their unions’ calls for public sector wages to keep up with the cost of living.

Public sector pay settlements are currently running at an average of 2.7%, while private sector pay is increasing by 4%. The government has a 2% target for public sector pay, well below the current increase in the cost of living (the Retail Prices Index), which is currently 4.2%.

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Annie Hayes

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