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November too late for pay cap decision, GMB says

The GMB has criticised the government’s choice to defer the decision of ending the public sector pay cap until the Autumn Budget on 22 November, arguing that this is “too long to wait”.

The pay cap has already seen public sector workers miss out on £9,000 in below-inflation pay increases since 2010.

The union has also attacked the lack of central government funding for the promised pay rises for the police and prison services, meaning that existing departmental budgets must fund the increases. The concern is that the already cash-strapped public sector will be expected to provide a consistent service whilst tightening its purse strings – a sentiment echoed by the FDA.

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, a skeptical Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary for public services, said: “The prime minister has made a token gesture to prison and police offers. She now claims the pay freeze has been broken. Well, do not believe a word of it.”

 “Asking them to accept yet more years of deflated pay. Telling them there is no new money so they have to pay for it themselves out of their depleted budgets. And you know what, over half of public sector workers are not even covered by independent pay review bodies. So nothing for them then either.”

Earlier this month PSE reported on the government’s announcement that they would lift the pay cap for police and prison services, promising a 1.7% and 1% pay increase respectively, with the police also receiving a 1% bonus.

Whitehall has promised to scrap the unpopular cap for those whose pay arrangements are governed by pay review bodies, but this excludes 55% of public sector workers, including frontline staff and civil servants – a third of whom have reported wanting to leave the industry as soon as possible.

“Theresa May claims she is listening. Unless she announces a real pay rise for all public sector workers next week then we know she has not heard the message from the country. November is too long to wait,” added Azam.


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