In recent weeks, politicians from all parties have praised public service workers for their remarkable bravery, dedication and heroism in times of crisis.
They were right to do so. One of the most moving moments from our National Delegate Conference last week was when the room rose as one to spontaneously applaud our members in the London Ambulance Service. Their work, in such appalling circumstances, deserves our thanks and our gratitude.
But we should not forget that every single day, public service workers are doing remarkable life changing and life saving work. Most of the time that doesn’t reach national prominence, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less significant.
Yet these same champions in our public services have been put through years of pay misery thanks to Tory austerity. A political choice was made by those in government that has left nurses, care workers and school staff worse off year after year.
Kind words and praise are better than the usual criticism from the government and their friends in the press, but they are no substitute for real action.
As I said at our conference last week – this has to be our year to smash the pay cap once and for all.
So I’m delighted that the Labour Party have made this vital change their first priority in the new Parliament, by forcing a vote on ending the pay cap.
This vote gives MPs from all parties an opportunity to show they meant what they said about public servants – taking concrete action to support those who support us, our loved ones and our communities.
Public sector pay has fallen behind in the last seven years and this has caused real hardship for workers and their families. It’s also made it more difficult to recruit and retain staff in key public services.
Today there is a chance to bring all of that to an end. But if today’s vote doesn’t go our way, we will keep fighting to end this injustice – and ensure that everyone who chooses to dedicate their life to serving others gets the pay – as well as the thanks – they deserve.