Immediate responses to the Scottish draft budget from PCS, Unison and the STUC all point to the reality that in order to balance the books across the budget, Scottish public sector workers are taking the hit through their ever shrinking pay packets.
Scottish public sector pay has been capped at 1% since 2010 – and following yesterday’s draft Budget outline it is set to remain capped until 2016. That is six years of pay misery, not forgetting the agony of the pay freezes that came before.
Of course the media headlines following the Budget are all about the new taxes and first time buyers, but it is the reduction in budget allocations and pay policy which is of immediate concern to PCS members.
Mr Swinney talks of protecting public services and a social wage – but how many Scottish public sector workers believe that they are taking a hit to maintain a council tax freeze and universal services for all.
PCS of course welcomes the continued commitment to the living wage and a £300 minimum increase for the lowest paid along no compulsory redundancies. However the combined effect of real terms wage decline, further increases in pension contribution from April and balancing job reduction with workloads piling up can only result in industrial unrest across the Scottish public sector in the period ahead.