WHILE GORDON Brown's 'pay restraint' policy eats into real wages for civil service workers, his government has given big bonuses to top civil servants, including those in charge of family tax credits and benefits for the poor.
This is part of a package to encourage the most senior civil servants to meet government targets, including cutting tens of thousands of civil service jobs.
Brown's pay policy is to hold down rises for the average civil servant to 1.9%. The Department for Work and Pensions has imposed a 0% pay rise for 40% of its staff this year. Such attacks led to the one-day strikes organised by the PCS civil service union.
The average bonus for already well-paid senior civil servants was £7,000. This is chicken feed, of course, compared to bonuses at the top level of private industry such as the £753,000 a year bonus paid to energy company Centrica's boss Sam Laidlaw. But this deal, designed to cut civil service workers' jobs and wages, could be explosive. If they can afford to indulge the civil service tops, they can afford to pay a decent, living wage to ordinary civil servants.