While Labour is unequivocally committed to scrapping the Conservatives pay cap – a development we welcome – it has not committed itself to real term pay rises or to unrestricted national collective bargaining with public sector unions.
Instead Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, told UNISON Conference on 26 April 2017: that “a Labour government will scrap the pay cap, put pay decisions back into the hands of the independent pay review body and give our NHS workers the pay they deserve”;
Labour Shadow Cabinet Minister Dawn Butler, appearing on Sky News’ “Sunday with Niall Paterson” programme on 17 September 2017, stated that Labour only planned to remove the cap but not to offer a real-terms pay increase, saying, “we are not talking about an above-inflation pay rise” and adding, “when we’ve got the books in front of us we will then be able to decipher what else we’d be able to deliver for public sector workers but we need to see the figures and the books but at the moment we’re not in government, we’re the government-in-waiting.”
While Jeremy Corbyn has called for a return to national pay bargaining, common national pay terms cannot be achieved with inflation level pay awards only.
The IL believes that as part of the political strategy for our national pay campaign, the NEC must seek immediate talks with the Labour Leadership to develop civil service pay policies and principles that contrast openly and vividly with the pay slashing, divide and rule policies of the current government and ensures vocal Labour support for PCS throughout our campaign and dispute.
The following principles should form the basis of PCS’ talks with the Labour leadership, and with any future Labour Government to the extent that these principles are not agreed before then:
- The restoration of national pay terms as part of an agreement to restore national pay bargaining.
- This agreement to set contractually binding step