Last week PCS members across the UK took part in a coordinated payday protests. Scottish workers joined in high numbers, many them from the Scottish Government sector.
Public sector workers are still paying a high price for the UK Government’s austerity programme. Living standards keep falling year on year as the Scottish Government mimics the Tory policies of pay freezes and pay caps.
PCS and the other civil service unions met with Derek Mackay, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Minister who sets Scottish public sector pay policy . We reminded him that his Government is not bound by the Tory pay policies and could adopt a different fairer approach. We urged him to stop the decline in living standards and to treat his staff better. Mackay’s response was that he has received no representations from chief executives or departmental heads on behalf of their staff about continuing the pay cap.
Despite the strong workers case for fairer pay we presented, the Cabinet Secretary went ahead to announce a continuation of the 1% pay cap for another year.
In response, PCS has stepped up our campaign for a Fair Pay Scotland. Changed circumstances now lead us to call for a review of Scottish public sector pay policy.
Over the past two weeks two major developments make the current pay policy unsustainable.
- The cost of living has rocketed with RPI inflation rising to 3.2% in February 2017 and all experts are predicting it will continue to rise in the months ahead.
- Scottish prison officers have been awarded a £1000 payment in April 2017 and further £1000 in April 2018. This is as well as pay rises due in October 2017 and 2018 and clearly breaks the pay policy applying to everyone else. This follows a £2000 payment made to the same group of workers in 2015.
PCS has written to the Cabinet Secretary to demand a review of the policy because of these developments. We call on him to meet with the civil service unions urgently.
If the Scottish Government persists with the 1% pay cap then workers face a massive drop in living standards in the year ahead. Even the £400 payment to those earning less than £22,000 will not protect the lower paid as was the stated aim.
And the prison officer pay out in 2015 was said to be a one-off. This payment proves that pay policy can be burst. All public sector workers face the same cuts in living standards and all deserve to be treated fairly.
The Tory 1% pay policy is unsustainable. It’s time for Scottish Ministers to pay up!