In response to Chancellor George Osbornes announcement that he plans to block incremental pay progression, UNISON Cymru/Wales head of local government Dominic MacAskill, said: “The Chancellor clearly had no understanding of how pay progression work in practice
“UNISON is at a complete loss as to how the Chancellor can expect local government workers’ budgets to be squeezed any further.
“The majority of local government workers earn less that £21,000 per year and have already experienced a three year pay freeze. It is ludicrous to expect them to foot more of the bill to dig this country out a hole that they did not create.
“That is why UNISON is calling on the WLGA to do the only sensible thing and publicly disassociate itself from this impractical and short-sighted strategy.
“Attacking public sector workers is not going to boost this country’s economic recovery. In fact, it is damaging and divisive to our society at large.
“Our members are becoming increasingly angry and frustrated with this UK government’s assault on the public sector and there is a growing pressure for industrial actions.
UNISON has 100,000 public sector workers in Wales.
Incremental scales for other public service workers are not infinite said the union.
Most people reach the top of their scale in three to five 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.