MP: Why I’d back strik­ers

The Chronicle - - Front Page - By JONATHAN WALKER Po­lit­i­cal Editor jon.walker@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @jon­walker121

OUT­SPO­KEN Labour MP Laura Pid­cock has promised to back strike ac­tion by strug­gling pub­lic sec­tor work­ers if they are not given a de­cent pay rise.

North West Durham MP Ms Pid­cock spoke out as MPs heard pay cuts have led to staff short­ages in hos­pi­tals, schools and town halls.

Pay for many pub­lic sec­tor staff was frozen be­tween 2010 and 2012 and then in­creased by just 1% a year af­ter that, which was a cut in real terms while in­fla­tion was higher than 1%.

Chan­cel­lor Phillip Ham­mond sug­gested in his Bud­get state­ment last month the pay cap would be scrapped, al­though fu­ture pay rises have not yet been an­nounced.

But Ms Pid­cock said she would back strike ac­tion if their pay was not in­creased.

“Pub­lic sec­tor work­ers need an above-in­fla­tion pay rise as part of a prop­erly funded set­tle­ment.

“If it is not prop­erly funded, pub­lic sec­tor work­ers know this, the cuts will just con­tinue through re­dun­dan­cies.

“If pub­lic sec­tor work­ers do not get that pay rise, I will sup­port them in what­ever in­dus­trial ac­tion they take.

“If with­draw­ing their labour is all they can do to get this Gov­ern­ment to see rea­son, they have my sup­port.”

And she pointed out that MPs had en­joyed a 10% pay rise in 2016, fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion made in 2015.

She said: “The in­equal­ity be­tween this place and the rest of the pub­lic ser­vices has been men­tioned.

“How can it be right that Mem­bers awarded them­selves a 10% pay rise in 2015 while most pub­lic sec­tor work­ers’ pay was capped at 1%?

“Peo­ple re­ally feel that there is one rule for us in this place and an­other for all the rest.

“I gen­uinely do not think that Gov­ern­ment Mem­bers can claim that they sup­port or value our pub­lic ser­vices while they sup­press work­ers’ wages.”

She was speak­ing in a Com­mons de­bate as a num­ber of MPs de­manded pay rises for pub­lic sec­tor work­ers.

North Ty­ne­side MP Mary Glin­don said pay for lo­cal gov­ern­ment work­ers had fallen in real terms by 21%, more than a fifth, since 2010.

And one re­sult of this was that there was a short­age of peo­ple who wanted to work in the pub­lic sec­tor.

She urged the Gov­ern­ment “to show due re­spect and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for all pub­lic sec­tor work­ers. Pay up now and end the pub­lic sec­tor pay cap across the board.”

Blay­don MP Liz Twist said: “It is no won­der there are re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion prob­lems in the NHS and else­where in the pub­lic sec­tor. “In the NHS, de­mand has gone up, but staff con­tinue to work to make sure pa­tients are looked af­ter.”

Trea­sury Min­is­ter An­drew Jones told MPs pay rises had been lim­ited as part of ef­forts to cut the na­tional deficit. He said: “It is fair to re­mind the House that in 2010 we in­her­ited the big­gest deficit in our peace­time his­tory. “There was an ur­gent need to get pub­lic spend­ing un­der some con­trol, and that has been a key in­gre­di­ent in re­turn­ing our econ­omy to health.

“The coali­tion Gov­ern­ment im­ple­mented a two-year pay freeze, which has been men­tioned sev­eral times by Mem­bers dur­ing the de­bate, but I re­mind the Labour party gen­tly that it sup­ported that pol­icy at the time.

“The pay freeze was fol­lowed by a se­ries of 1% pay awards for pub­lic sec­tor work­ers.

“In the au­tumn Bud­get the Chan­cel­lor re­con­firmed that un­der this Con­ser­va­tive Gov­ern­ment the pol­icy would end.”

Peo­ple re­ally feel that there is one rule for us in this place and an­other for all the rest Labour MP Laura Pid­cock

Fiery Labour MP Laura Pid­cock

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