PCS rallies civil servants and public sector workers in protests against pay cap


Thousands across Scotland and the UK are protesting against the one per cent pay cap

THE PUBLIC AND COMMERCIAL SERVICES (PCS) UNION is today rallying its members in a series of co-ordinated protests against the one per cent public sector pay cap.

Protests are taking place across Scotland and the UK by PCS members, civil servants and public sector workers outside their workplaces, calling on the UK Government to end the one per cent cap and increase funding into public services.

Workplaces taking part in the protests include DWP offices in Glasgow and Falkirk and the Scottish Government’s Atlantic Quay offices in Glasgow.

The protests come ahead of a UK-wide consultative ballot, opening on 6 October, which will ask PCS members whether they are prepared to take industrial action to win ‘inflation-proof’ wage rises – the first such trade union ballot to tackle the issue since this year’s General Election. This could be followed by a future formal strike ballot.

“In Holyrood, although we’re told the cap will go – we want to know if inflation-proof wage rises will replace it.” PCS National Officer Lynn Henderson

Ahead of the protests, PCS National Officer Lynn Henderson said: “Civil and public service workers keep our public services running but, like workers right across the public sector, their take-home pay has been cut year on year.

“At Westminster, the weak and wobbly Tories are confused on the pay cap. In Holyrood, although we’re told the cap will go – we want to know if inflation-proof wage rises will replace it. Anything less means another year of cuts.

“PCS is a union of workers who make the economy function. We collect tax and deliver social security. In Scotland, we manage forests and fisheries, look after our nation’s cultural heritage in art, history and libraries, and administer the policies set by the Scottish Government.

“We make our courts, our land, and our parliament work for the people of Scotland, and we are proud of this.

“Our message today is clear: our work matters, and we deserve a pay rise.”

READ MORE: Unions react to end of public sector pay cap: “This is only the beginning of the fight”

Earlier this month, Henderson responded to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement in the latest Programme for Government that the Scottish Government will end the public sector pay cap starting next year by saying: “Kind words are not enough.”

She went on to point out that many Scottish public sector workers will not see any change to their pay until the end of 2018 at the earliest, and that they have no guarantees about next year’s pay award.

PCS will continue to campaign for a pay rise of at least five per cent, reparations for a decade of lost wages and increased funding for public services.

The ongoing one per cent cap to public sector pay, combined with a two-year pay freeze, changes to pensions and an increase in National Insurance contributions, have impacted the living standards of many public sector workers.

From 2010 to 2016 average civil service pay fell by between £2,000 and £3,500 in real terms. In HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), two of the largest government departments, the lowest paid workers reportedly earn less than £20,000 a year.

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