Working people across the UK are struggling
Many UNISON members are lying awake at night worrying about their job, or how to make ends meet, because their pay is frozen and prices are soaring. UNISON is campaigning for better and fairer pay, and we are making sure pay stays at the top of the agenda.
Public service workers are facing colossal cuts to wages, while a tiny minority gets richer.
People in the UK are facing the biggest fall in real wages since the 1870s. Thousands of public service workers have had their pay frozen and capped since 2010, and inflation means the value of their pay packet has fallen by an average of 16%.
All workers, whether they work in the public, private or voluntary sector, have faced major cuts in the value of their pay over the last few years.
Meanwhile, the average director of a FTSE 100 company enjoyed a 14% pay rise in 2013, and dividends going to shareholders are expected to jump by 24% in 2014, hitting just under £100bn.
Rather than putting some of their wealth back into society, many millionaires (individuals and companies) are using off-shoring and loop-holes to dodge tax.
We’re all paying more and getting less
Public services need motivated, well-paid staff. We all expect and deserve high quality public services, and one of the most vital ingredients of quality services are motivated staff who are valued and decently rewarded. Yet the government’s slashing of funding on an extraordinary scale has resulted in more work and less pay for public service workers.
Everyone takes the hit when public services are cut.
The government is doing nothing to help people struggling under the weight of massive personal debt. Their pay freeze, coupled with cuts to public services and jobs, has fuelled the rise in personal debt amongst our members.
Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary
Taxpayers are picking up the tab for poverty pay
The ‘short sharp shock’ the government said we needed in 2010 is going to last until 2019.
The government’s austerity programme is projected to cost £178bn by 2019 through slashed budgets for delivering public services and higher taxes.
Under-paying public service workers is bad for the economy: When public service workers aren’t paid much, they don’t spend much, which harms local economies. When public service workers aren’t paid enough to live on, they are forced to rely on benefits, which are funded by taxes.
The number of workers who don’t earn enough to live on rocketed from 3.4m in 2009 to 5.2m in 2013.
If a living wage was introduced the Treasury would save £3.6bn. This includes £1.1bn in means-tested benefits, which is effectively a subsidy for employers who refuse to pay their staff enough to live on.
The government tries to justify all this by arguing that it is tackling government debt, but the debt has risen from £870bn to £1,305bn since the Tory-Lib Dem coalition came to office.
UNISON is fighting for better, fairer pay
UNISON works to defend, maintain and improve pay structures and pay levels for all our members, and is campaigning to end the public service pay freeze.
Our unique welfare charity There for You offers financial planning and debt advice as well as financial assistance when times are tough.
UNISON members are keeping pay on the agenda, we are winning support for the living wage, and we are staying united to show employers that public sector workers are Worth It.