Alongside the Scottish draft budget yesterday, Scottish public sector pay policy 2016-17 was published. http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/12/6140.
It is disappointing that the headline 1% cap continues into 2016-17 for PCS members across the Scottish Government sector. Although budgets are tight, austerity pay is a political choice when Scottish Ministers have the power to do something different.
Today in the Scottish Parliament, 28 PCS members from across the Scottish Government sector met their MSPs to explain the real detrimental impact that austerity pay is having on their livelihoods and home lives. Our new publication contains testimonies from members that have shouldered five years of austerity pay already.
Members talk about being forced to find cheaper food options, cutting night outs and leisure activities, increasing use of credit cards and loans to pay essential bills, not taking holidays abroad, cancelling pet insurance, gym membership and children’s activities in order to make ends meet. These are the real effects of year on year holding down pay in the name of austerity.
As part of our Fair Pay Scotland campaign, PCS has led representations to John Swinney, deputy first minister that it is time to prepare to come out of austerity pay. It is because of our pressure that Swinney has not imposed the blanket 4 year 1% cap that the UK government have in store for our members in UK departments. However, neither has he sought to place his own direct employees on a par with teachers nor local government workers who will receive a 1.5% increase in 2016-17.
The campaign for a Fair Pay Scotland goes on. A Scottish Government sector pay forum in January will consider the next stage in our sectoral campaign.
In the words of John Swinney to PCS in 2013, “austerity pay cannot last for ever”. It is the responsibility of our representatives and advocates across the PCS Scottish sector to educate, agitate and organise to win change for our members.