Len McCluskey takes a stand against the 1% pay “offer” for 2014 & 2015 from both George Osborne and Ed Balls

Len McCluskey, the General Secretary of Unite, wrote a much-reported piece in The Guardian, some of the points of which have been echoed by Unison nationally.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has already said that he wants to limit public sector pay rises to 1% once the current pay freeze ends, and has said he wants to push for regional pay bargaining – which will increase inequalities between public-sector workers in different regions of the UK.  Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, has echoed the call for pay rises in the public sector to be limited to 1%. This is an unfair move that will chip away at our wages further. Already, as Len McCluskey points out, a teaching assistant is losing in real terms (when taking into account the impact of inflation) £2600 as a result of the pay freeze. This will continue after 2013, if inflation is 4 or 5% while our pay rises are limited to 1%.

The claim is sometimes made that pay freezes will save jobs. However, the sad reality is that, while the pay freeze is in effect, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government has said they aim to cut 700,000 jobs from the public sector. We are thus getting the worst of both worlds – our wages are being cut in real terms and lots of our colleagues are losing their jobs.

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