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Unions back ‘days of action’ over pay

The TUC is to orchestrate days of action, including a major national demonstration, against the government’s ‘unfair’ pay policy for public sector workers.

The CSP backed the initiative, warning of the effect on morale and recruitment of ‘below-inflation’ pay increases.

The Society was one of five unions to support the motion on public sector pay, which was moved by Unison and seconded by the Public and Commercial Services Union.

The motion condemned the government for imposing an ‘arbitary’ two per cent cap on pay through to 2010 at a time of ‘rapidly rising inflation’.

It said public sector workers faced real cuts in living standards and that vital services would struggle to recruit,

retain and motivate staff. Congress agreed to campaign for ‘fairer’ pay and make a ‘robust case’ for fairer

taxation for public services.

The TUC will support unions ‘when re-opener clauses in multi-year deals are reneged upon, to provide safeguards against rising inflation’.

Philip Hulse, CSP regional steward, urged delegates to support the motion. He said: ‘Public sector workers are the victims, not the cause, of inflation as they struggle with higher energy bills, rising food costs and increases in rents and mortgages.’ Mr Hulse accused the government of undermining the integrity and independence of the pay review body.

He said unless policy was changed, public sector earnings would slip further below those of the private sector and widen the ‘gender pay gap’.

Unison deputy general secretary Keith Sonnet said public sector workers should not bear the brunt of a global housing and credit crunch caused by a deregulated financial services industry.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, described the government’s pay policy as morally bankrupt.

Delegates defeated an amendment to the motion, moved by the Prison Officers Association, which insisted on strike action. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the TUC could not impose a strike call on unions. He told delegates: ‘Individual unions have to make their own judgements on strike action.’

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