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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 September 2006

2% public-sector pay rise won't cover inflation

WRITING IN the Financial Times (FT) (29/8/06) Chancellor Gordon Brown called for a 2% limit on all public-sector pay rises next year. This is an even tighter target than the 2.5% increases in public sector pay (which Brown calls an achievement) for 2006.

Jared Wood

Brown writes in the FT. Where else could the impoverishment of civil servants, local government workers, teachers and health workers be called an achievement? In any case, a 2% pay 'increase' is not a real increase.

Official data may say that inflation is at a historically low level but the real cost of living has risen sharply. Housing, transport (public transport or car), food, gas and electricity are all far dearer than a year ago and together represent the majority of spending by working people. Even the Daily Telegraph said the real rate of 'middle-class inflation' was 10% once essential outgoings (including private school fees!) are included!

In his article the Chancellor accepts there is a risk of yet higher inflation. Harking back to the industrial battles of the 1970s he insists workers must bear the costs of inflation by accepting a cut in real pay.

Yet, the same day's FT reported that, following a review of executive pay structures, the average leading executive of an FT100 listed company received an increase in overall remuneration (basic pay plus bonuses) of 12%-15% this year. That's up from 11%-13% last year and takes their average earnings to 2.4 million. That's an increase averaging about 313,000 each!

The socialist leadership of PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) has recognised the fight on its hands and has already organised widespread strike action over pensions and job security. Local government workers in UNISON have also taken action over pensions.

But resisting New Labour's assault on public-sector workers (and by using them as an example, all workers) cannot be left to each workforce as it comes under attack. Any dreams of partnership with a Brown government must end now.

Public-sector unions need to develop a united strategy to confront the government; to maintain pension entitlement at 65; to defeat Brown's threat of 100,000 civil service job cuts; to reverse the transfer of national output from wages to company profits and show again the power of organised workers.

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In The Socialist 7 September 2006:

Fighting back against attacks on NHS

Campaign defeats GP services sell-off

Campaign for a new workers' party

Come to Socialism 2006


Socialist Party campaigns

Progress on climate change - or just hot air?

Long hours and poverty pay hit students

A searing indictment of capitalism


War and terrorism

End the occupations

Lebanon: Can the UN bring peace?

9/11 - Five years on

Reprint: After the carnage in the USA: World Crisis Deepens


International socialist news and analysis

The politics of aid

New socialist party launched in Scotland

Bangladesh: 20,000 protesters march against British mining company


Socialist Party workplace news

Workers yearn for fighting leadership

2% public-sector pay rise won't cover inflation

The GAMA struggle

Strike victory increases pay-offs


 

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