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Unions critical of four more years of pay restraint

Unions have stated that today’s announcement to cap public sector pay awards at 1% for four more years will “hasten the reluctant exit of many dedicated staff from hospitals”. 

During the Summer Budget 2015, George Osborne said: “To ensure we have public services we can afford, and protect more jobs, we will continue recent public sector pay awards with a rise of 1% per year for the next four years. 

“Public spending should reflect public priorities – and we have to make choices.” 

The chancellor added that overall, levels of pay in the public sector are now, on average, comparable to those in the private sector. 

But both Unison and Unite have attacked the chancellor’s proposals saying that Britain won’t have “public services fit for 21st century needs, unless wages for public servants are high enough to attract the best recruits”. 

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The economy is growing yet public servants remain shut out of the recovery. Despite bearing the brunt of austerity, they are to keep paying the price for the reckless behaviour of the banks.” 

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, added that having faced almost a decade of collapsing wages, the millions across the public sector who keep our country running will be furious that they face a further four years of pay pain. 

He said: “The slower pace to the pain of austerity will be no comfort to people just about surviving. The last Tory government left us a less equal, divided country. I fear once again we have a Tory party ready to take this nation backwards.” 

Daniel Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, noted that following today’s publication his organisation will be urgently seeking to speak with trade unions, to “ensure we continue to work in partnership to progress pay reforms and service improvement across the NHS”. 

He said that future negotiations will now need to be set against the context of today’s announcement from the government, and “we recognise that these discussions are now likely to be more difficult”. 

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