UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Oh No Darling!

UNISON members will be less than delighted to find that today’s pre-budget report places their income and pensions in jeopardy. Darling proposes a two year 1% pay cap and a pensions cap on public sector workers.

As the economy plunged into recession last year , it was public sector workers who had to bear the brunt of the dealing with it in their working lives , as unemployment and the all social problems that it brings came to the fore. It is public services that keep communities together, whether in dealing with homelessness or job loss, or money problems or the health problems of stress and mental illness. Yet their reward is to see their incomes reduced. Public sector pay is to be held to 1% rise at a time when inflation is predicted to rise to 3%. A pay cut is a pay cut. It will be made worse by a increase in National Insurance contributions by 0.5%

Meanwhile we are asked to rejoice that bankers bonuses are to be taxed at 50% if they are over £25000 per year. It will be easy to keep the cheers rather muted. For the majority of our members that will be more than they will earn in a year. As the Unison website notes, 70p in every pound that a unison member earns will be spent in the local economy. While the government could be applauded for the stimulus package at this time last year it now risks, making the recession worse, as wage cuts for public service workers will mean less money circulating in the economy. That affects all businesses, from Tesco and John Lewis to your local chippy.

Worse, the Chancellor has made £5Billion pounds in spending cuts, and predicts that growth will fall to 0.8% across government budgets. That means job losses. How much do promises that the health service, education the police and the army will be protected really mean? In the Health Service at the moment, our members are seeing job losses. So w hat do the protections mean? In reality UNISON members will see jobs lost, and those who remain in employment will find that their working lives made much more difficult.

Not so much as case of Merry Christmas Mr Darling from UNISON members, more a case of bah humbug!!