UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to invest in public sector workers without delay after years of being targeted for pay cuts and job losses.
The PM has a “duty” to take action to ease the financial strain on employees whose income is slipping further behind as the cost of living rises, his letter says.
From 2010 to 2018, the cost of living rose by 31%, but the average public sector worker’s pay increased by less than 8%. During that period house prices rose by 37% and childcare costs shot up by 32%.
Mr Prentis calls for Mr Johnson to honour Theresa May’s pledge that “austerity is over”, emphasising that public sector employees are still to see any evidence of this.
He wrote: “If wages continue to fall behind the cost of living, the serious problems in our public services will only get worse.
“What we need now are pay increases for all public service workers to bring wages back in line with pre-crash levels.
“But, just as importantly, those wage increases need to be funded by your government, not covered by existing budgets which are stretched to breaking point.
“Only adequate funding of public services, and investment in staff pay, can begin to repair the damage to our services and to the lives of those who work so hard to provide them.”
Notes to editors
– Dave Prentis wrote letters to Boris Johnson and chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid yesterday, Thursday 1 August 2019
– The full text of the letter can be accessed here.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.