Union forces MPs to debate fair pay as petition hits milestone

But call for hike in public-sector salaries has already been squashed by Spending Review pay freeze
PCS members protest outside the Treasury in 2017 Photo PA

By Jim Dunton

09 Dec 2020

Members of parliament will debate the issue of fair pay for public-sector workers next week, after a petition launched by the civil service’s biggest union hit the 100,000-name trigger point.

PCS’s official petition for a 10% pay rise for public servants was launched in July on parliament’s website. It said the hike was needed to offset a decade of pay austerity for government staff and was an appropriate recognition of the efforts of workers during the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Passing the 100,000-signature mark normally ensures an issue is debated by MPs, and the pay debate is set to take place on Monday, 14 December.

However, weeks after the Cabinet Office dismissed the demand and chancellor Rishi Sunak imposed a pay-freeze on most of the public sector in last month’s Spending Review, the debate is unlikely to have an immediate impact on wage packets.

PCS is calling on both members and non-members to sign an open letter to their MP ahead of the debate, urging them to take part in the session and support the fair play claim.

The union has set a deadline of the end of today (Wednesday, 9 December) for people to sign, so that signatures can be gathered, sorted and letters sent to MPs.

Delivering his Spending Review last month, Sunak said private-sector pay had fallen by 1% in the six months to September, compared with a nearly 3.9% rise in public-sector wages.

“In such a difficult context for the private sector, especially for those people working in sectors like retail, hospitality and leisure, I cannot justify a significant, across-the-board pay increase for all public-sector workers,” he said.

He said resources were being targeted "at those who need it most", including pay rises, which have yet to be set, for some NHS staff.

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