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17.07.17

Unions hit back at chancellor describing public sector workers as ‘overpaid’

Unions have today slammed chancellor Philip Hammond for showing “arrogant contempt” to public sector workers after he reportedly said that they were “overpaid”.

In a report leaked by the Sunday Times yesterday, five sources confirmed that he had made the comments during a cabinet meeting over austerity.

Asked about the leak on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Hammond defended his comments by saying that public sector employees got a “10% premium” over the private sector, and that pay had “raced ahead” since the 2008 economic crash.

This is despite the fact that wages have fallen by 14% in real terms since 2010, making it harder for the public sector to recruit and retain quality talent into the workforce.

The GMB has now hit back at Hammond’s comments, describing them as “foolish” “insulting” and displaying “arrogant contempt”.

“He is too removed from the reality of daily life to see the impact of seven years of pay pinching on ambulance workers, nurses and teaching assistants,” said GMB national secretary Rehana Azam.

“He should try and live on a public sector worker’s wage for a week to understand the struggle to make ends meet so many are facing as the cost of living rises. The truth is that the multi-millionaire chancellor is out of touch with public opinion. Two-thirds believe cuts to public services have gone too far and three quarters want to see a pay rise for public sector workers this year.”

Unison has also come out strongly against the Tory chancellor’s remarks, as it said that he was “completely out of touch” with the difficulty faced by many employed in the sector.

Christina McAnea, Unison assistant general secretary, commented: “The care worker hurrying from house to house doesn't feel overpaid, nor does the hospital cleaner working round the clock, or the teaching assistant going the extra mile for the children she supports. 

“They are all low paid, all vital, and all in need of a pay rise now,” the union leader argued. “The chancellor's remarks are nothing short of offensive. 

“The Conservatives saw the cost of attacking public services in last month's election. But far from learning their lessons, they now risk repeating them - and adding insult to injury.”

Today’s news also follows financial experts at the Resolution Foundation finding that ending the public sector pay cap is a policy that is likely to cost around £10bn a year to implement.

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Comments

Keiran   17/07/2017 at 11:59

I think its about time the public sector went on a unified strike.

Barbara   18/07/2017 at 09:23

I challenge you Mr. Hammond along with your family to live on a nurses wage for one month with no other income. See if you can!

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