Almost 150,000 people signed UNISON’s petition calling on the government to scrap the public sector pay cap – and as a result, MPs debated the issue in Parliament this week.
For seven years now, public sector workers have not had a pay rise: they either had no increase at all or saw their pay rise by just 1%, which has been considerably less than inflation.
UNISON has been campaigning hard on the issue and one of the things we did was start a petition on the official government site. When these petitions reach 100,000 signatories, Parliament is (usually) required to meet and debate the issue.
So on Monday evening, MPs piled into the House of Commons for the lively debate. It was introduced by Helen Jones, who is the Labour MP for Warrington North and chair of the petitions committee.
She gave a passionate speech, which she ended by saying that a pay rise for public sector workers, “would be good for public sector workers, the wider economy and our regions, and in the end it would be good for our country. It is time to abandon the policy and give people a decent wage.”
As well as Ms Jones, 37 MPs made a contribution. One of Parliament’s youngest members, Laura Pidcock MP, pointed out that public sector workers “are not directly responsible for inflation or prices; their living standards improve or degrade at the government’s behest.”
Unfortunately Conservative MPs made little contribution to the debate, which was commented on by Mohammad Yasin MP: “It is painful that only a handful of government members have turned up for this important debate. That shows that they do not care about our workers, who provide such a wonderful service to our country.”
View a handful of the tweets sent during the debate below, or watch the full debate online.
— Christina McAnea (@cmcanea) December 4, 2017
Great to speak in the Westminster Hall debate for public sector workers.@unisontweets have done a fantastic job fighting for the people who keep our country going. Same old Tory excuses as to why they won’t #payupnow
— Laura Smith MP (@LauraSmithMP) December 4, 2017
An end to the public sector #paycap is long overdue.
As @UNISONWales, @theRCN, @GMB_union and many others have said: this damaging pay cap can be lifted by the UK Government alone. They must not shirk this responsibility. #PayUpNow pic.twitter.com/mrS6HKeGWI
— Chris Elmore MP (@CPJElmore) December 4, 2017
— Catherine McKinnell (@CatMcKinnell) December 4, 2017
.@PreetKGillMP speaks of her constituent Kayleigh, a newly-qualified nurse who loves her job, but is unsure of her choice now she sees colleagues forced to take a second job to feed their children. #payupnow #paydebate
— UNISON – the union (@unisontweets) December 4, 2017