World

Britain to lift pay cap for police, prison officers

Britain to lift pay cap for police, prison officers

The British government will soften its seven-year grip on public-sector pay with police and prison officers set to get increases above a 1 percent cap, media reported.

A report earlier this week claimed public sector workers were on average 10 per cent better off than those in the private sector.

Ian Murray, of the Fire Brigades Union, said: "We all know that a Tory government will give working people nothing without a fight".

The 2017/18 settlements will be met out of existing departmental budgets and will be implemented immediately.

The Treasury confirmed the police and prison officer rises and the move follows weeks of speculation the freeze may be lifted in response to growing anger about morale in the public sector.

"While it is a step in the right direction, the Government should have done this sooner but we don't feel that non-consolidated pay awards are the way forward". May has been under increasing pressure from ministers and lawmakers to end the cap since her party lost its majority in parliament in elections in June.

'There will still be a need for pay discipline over the coming years to ensure the affordability of public services and the sustainability of public sector employment.

Asked whether the readiness to show "flexibility" meant that the cap was now ending, the spokesman said: "The answer is yes".

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Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary for Public Services, said: "Make no mistake, our members across the public services are angry after seven years of pay pinching by the government".

Four unions tabled motions to this week's Trades Union Congress in Brighton calling for some kind of nationally coordinated action, which were then included in a composite motion.

This was rejected by Policing Minister Nick Hurd, who said the offer was affordable to forces.

Steve Gillan, the general secretary of the prison officers' union the POA, said: "Inflation is running at 2.9 per cent".

He added: "Public sector workers have suffered seven long years of real pay cuts, and are thousands of pounds worse off". Today's announcement means bills will continue to rise faster than their wages. "We must be united in breaking the pay cap for all workers".

Public-sector pay was frozen for all but the lowest earners in 2010 and increases were limited to of 1 percent a year from 2013 as part of measures to reduce government spending.

He said: "A pay cut is a pay cut".

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "We must commit to marching, demonstrating and lobbying - not just in Westminster, but in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh too". We must be united in breaking the pay cap for all workers.


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