By James Frith (@jamesfrith)

Only someone paid enough would disagree: its about well paid jobs and not just being in work. Finding work is not the same as a well paid job and the government should stop pretending it is.

UK Employment is at its highest for decades. In principle this is welcome but look at the detail. Many of the jobs created have relied on reducing terms and conditions, a depression of wages and no security. The unemployment rate is at its lowest since the summer of 1975 but pay is being cut by the impact of inflation with a great deal more working for poverty pay.

Workers in our hospitals, schools and local communities are getting poorer each year. The government’s derisory 1% cap on all public sector pay leaves earnings impotent against inflation – damaging these at nearly twice that level. Research by the GMB union for their Pay Pinch campaign reveals the extent to which public sector workers face a real terms pay cut. With one shocking example, as we witness the crisis in social care this government is presiding over, that between 2010-2020, a qualified residential care worker will have lost £11,700 in earnings.

Average wages are barely creeping above inflation at 1.8% (inflation is 1.6% Jan 2017) according the the Office for National Statistics whilst the cost of living hurtles above this.

It’s been a decade lost. Not just in funding but in earnings too.

Paul Johnson, director of the institute for financial studies warned that wages were unlikely to be higher in the next five years. By which time, we’ll have seen a decade and a half of lost earnings for our public sector workers. Speaking to the BBC, he said; “On current forecasts average earnings will be no higher in 2022 than they were in 2007. Fifteen years without a pay rise. This is completely unprecedented.” Unprecedented? Its unacceptable.

Britain needs a pay rise.

Read more on the GMB Union’s Pay Pinch campaign here:


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