Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/885/22059
Civil service: £1bn on consultants while cleaners on minimum wage
Dave Semple, PCS union rep (personal capacity)
A National Audit Office report contains further proof that austerity is working out fine for the bosses.
The civil service is shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs - needed to pay unemployment benefit and collect tax. Meanwhile, 47 consultants were paid more than £1,000 a day as part of a £1.3 billion splurge on consultants and temporary staff by the Tories.
Many will be from huge firms such as Deloitte, KPMG and PwC. While soaking up huge contracts to 'advise' senior civil servants, they were condemned last year in Parliament for being part of a "tax avoidance industry".
In contrast, many cleaners working for the civil service are paid the minimum wage.
Ongoing campaigns fought by public sector union PCS have seen breakthroughs in individual departments. The Department for Work and Pensions now pays a "living wage". And in November 2015, the Department for Education conceded a pay rise of up to 23% for low-paid staff.
However, employers are still determined to hold wages down. Last October, outsourcing giant Interserve threatened disciplinary action against its cleaners at the Foreign Office for campaigning against low pay. The whole point of the Tories' Trade Union Bill is to restrict our ability to strike - in order to support the profits of these huge corporations.
Socialist Party members in different unions played a crucial role in getting the Trade Union Congress to officially demand £10 an hour as the minimum wage.
A strike campaign by all unions representing the lowest paid could turn this into a reality. Especially if tied to anti-austerity candidates running on this platform in local and national elections.
In The Socialist 20 January 2016:
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