Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, the UK’s largest public sector union, today reacted angrily to the 1%, two year pay cap and pensions cap on public sector workers, announced in the pre-budget report,
“I am not going to sign up to this. I know how our members feel – they feel angry and betrayed. It is just not on to make nurses, social workers, dinner ladies, cleaners and hospital porters pay the price for the folly of the bankers.
“The people who earn most should pay the most. Instead we have the disgraceful spectacle of rich bankers threatening to leave the country if they don’t get their massive bonuses. Where is their loyalty? In tough times the rich should show leadership, not run off to the nearest tax haven.
“We have no idea what inflation will be like in 2011 and beyond. Nor do we know what the future price will be of essentials such as food and fuel. We are on the same side of the street as our members and I won’t let them see their living standards eroded.
“Capping pension contributions will reduce the already small public sector pensions even further. The average pension in local government is just £4,000 a year and less than £2,000 for women. This predicted £1bn savings could end up being paid out as benefits to those very same workers to keep them out of poverty in retirement.
“We know that for every £1 a public sector work earns they spend 70p in their local community. Any squeeze on their pay will put a stranglehold on local businesses and services, cutting off much needed income.
“We know that if our public services are cut just when our communities need them most, the manufacturing industry will also go into crisis. Manufacturing is dependent on public procurement to keep going. Attacking public service jobs and pay is misguided. It will make the recession worse. It will undo all the work that has been done towards giving our communities world-class services.”