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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 August 2017

Coordinated action needed to break pay restraint

HMRC workers' pay protest in Liverpool, 31.7.17, photo by Roger Bannister

HMRC workers' pay protest in Liverpool, 31.7.17, photo by Roger Bannister   (Click to enlarge)

Marion Lloyd, Left Unity chair and PCS executive committee member (personal capacity)

The misery of austerity for millions of workers is set to continue under the Tories. Chancellor Phillip Hammond has defended the 1% pay cap and claimed that public sector workers are overpaid.

Tell that to the workers who have suffered a major decrease in living standards over the years of Tory pay restraint.

These comments are a bit rich coming from Hammond, whose wage is at least 150,000 a year and since 2015 has seen his pay go up by 13%.

Hammond also took a side swipe at the quality of public sector pensions as a reason for why the 1% pay cap was reasonable. What he fails to mention is that his pension is at least as good but that didn't stop them agreeing huge pay increases for MPs.

The role of the trade union movement is vital if we are to break pay restraint. This is why the decisions made by the PCS national executive committee are so key - to build maximum unity across the public sector while at the same time preparing for a consultative ballot of civil service workers.

With the Tories divided and Labour against the pay cap we must put maximum pressure on the government to scrap it. PCS has already raised the question of united action with the TUC and the role they must play to initiate and coordinate action.

The HMRC pay protests on 31 July were well supported and demonstrated a growing mood among PCS members to take on the government over pay. However the aim must be to build a pay campaign which will end the pay cap for all public sector workers.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

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The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 9 August 2017:


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