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‘Unprecedented step’: TUC general secretary writes to pay review bodies seeking ‘significant boost’ to key worker pay

TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, has taken the unprecedented step of writing to public sector pay review bodies, calling on them to recognise and reward the efforts of key workers who kept the nation going through the pandemic.

  • The TUC usually plays no part in public sector pay negotiations but has broken with custom
  • Frances O’Grady writes to five pay review bodies ahead of their recommendations on public sector pay expected in the next few weeks
  • Ahead of unions’ decision on whether to accept four per cent increase for NHS staff in Scotland on Wednesday 12 May, TUC calls for UK government to “match and exceed” Scottish government offer for all public sector staff in England and UK

It is the first time a TUC general secretary has appealed directly to pay review bodies. She has taken this step because of the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic – and because of the debt the UK owes its key workers.

The letters says that a significant pay rise for public sector workers is “fair, affordable and necessary”. And it warns that holding back the living standards of public sector will hit economic recovery.

The letter states:

“The pandemic has demonstrated that the safety and security of society relies on strong and resilient public services – and that means public services that are properly staffed. The evidence tells us pay is critical to retention and recruitment in our public sector, but also to restoring demand and supporting our economic recovery.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady yesterday said:

“Key workers have kept the country going through the coronavirus pandemic. They have earned a significant boost to their pay – and the UK can afford it.

“We owe key workers a huge debt. Any further cut to their standard of living risks a staff exodus from essential services. This would be a disaster for our nation.

“Boosting key worker pay helps everyone. It will put more money in the pockets of working families. And their spending supports jobs in local businesses and high streets. 

“It’s time to guarantee all key workers in England and across the UK a pay rise that matches and exceeds what’s on offer from the Scottish government.”

Editors Note

  • The letter has been sent to the chairs of following pay review bodies:
    • NHS Pay Review Body
    • Prison Service Pay Review Body
    • Police Remuneration Review Body
    • School Teachers Review Body
    • Senior Salaries Review Body
  • The full text of the letters follows:

Dear Chair

A pay rise for key workers across the public sector

Key workers across the public sector have gone above and beyond to keep essential services going during the crisis. As such, it is right that pay awards recognise and reward those efforts.

A significant pay rise for public sector workers is fair, affordable and necessary.

The pandemic has demonstrated that the safety and security of society relies on strong and resilient public services – and that means public services that are properly staffed. The evidence tells us pay is critical to retention and recruitment in our public sector, but also to restoring demand and supporting our economic recovery.

We believe that the government should permit Review Bodies to be genuinely independent and not seek to constrain them through policy imposed by HM Treasury.

We ask that you recognise that a significant pay rise is an investment in our future, supports our economic growth and ensures our public services can meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Yours sincerely

F O’Grady

TUC General Secretary

 

Original article link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/unprecedented-step-tuc-general-secretary-writes-pay-review-bodies-seeking-significant-boost

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