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Time for real political action over pay cap

Like many thousands of public sector workers I have had to live with the consequences of austerity for years as a result of the financial crash of 2007, which was not of our making.

We have been forced to accept a 1% year-on-year pay cap, resulting in a loss of earnings of up to 8.4% due to increasing living costs and inflation rates.

On average this means a loss of over £3,000 for each worker. This is at a time when the richest 1,000 people across Britain have seen their wealth increase by 5.4%, reaching a record £547bn. Public service workers and their families have been forced to survive, as wages are constantly failing. This is having a real and detrimental impact on us and our families. This is also having a negative impact on our local economy, as we are forced to make cuts to our spending. This has created a vicious circle of less money going into shops and businesses, resulting in a drive to the bottom on wages and soaring zero-hour contracts.

We have had no shortage of elections over the last few years where political parties have campaigned for our votes. We are now demanding: what will you do for us in relation to our pay? Public sector workers are asking the Assembly parties to do something more than talk about support for public services and public servants.

We are asking MPs, MLAs and councillors of all political parties to:

Ω Fully support calls for the 1% pay cap to be lifted and to campaign for a real pay rise and restoration.

Ω Demand full investment in publicly owned and run services to guarantee a fully functioning public sector.

This would offset, in a real way, the legacy pay cuts and ensure the provision of the much-needed jobs and essential public services for all our communities. We are demanding the political parties do the right thing: support the people whom they are supposed to represent.

PAT LAWLOR

Branch 730, Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance

 

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