“The Chancellor has demonstrated yet again, that he has no idea how pay progression works in practice” said Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, following the Spending Review today. And he accused the Chancellor of making Local Government the whipping boy of the Tory party saying “How can he squeeze more out of council workers when three quarters now earn less than £21,000 as a result of the Government’s three-year pay freeze?”
Incremental scales for other public service workers are not infinite said the union. Most people reach the top of their scale in 3-5 years – the time it takes to reach full competence in the job. They are designed to reflect further training and experience gained on the job and follow development reviews with management.
Increments are also a way of maintaining loyalty from experienced staff said UNISON adding that on reaching the top, workers may be stuck on that scale for the next 20 years unless they get a promotion.
The union is warning that the continued onslaught on public sector pay will lead to critical shortages in areas like nursing, education and social services with staff voting with their feet as opportunities arise. The growing pay gap between the top and bottom, as well as cuts to vital services for children, the elderly and vulnerable, is leading to mounting pressure for industrial action.
Dave Prentis went on to say:
“If the Chancellor really wants to end pay progression then employers need to pay the rate for the job from day one. That will not save money but will cost the Treasury a lot more.
“Is it any wonder that the economy is floundering when the Chancellor has cut 400,000 public service workers and taken so much spending power away from the rest? Public service workers spend the vast majority of their wages in local shops and businesses. By contrast the big city bonuses and dividends drain money away from the UK to all parts of the globe.”