The government’s offer to public sector workers is an insult. The previous two-year public sector deal called ‘Building Momentum’ gave all public sector workers a 1% increase in 2021 and gives another 1% in 2022. But inflation was 2.15% in 2021, and it’s 7.8% in 2022. So workers are down 8%.
In the proposed new two-year deal, the government has offered 2.5% and then 2.5% for next year when inflation will be at least 5%.
Accepting this insulting offer would be accepting a pay cut. What an insult to the thousands of frontline workers who worked so hard during Covid.
NO EVIDENCE FOR THE WAGE-PRICE SPIRAL FEARS
The public sector pay deal matters to private sector workers too because it will set a headline figure for pay increases below inflation. As the price of many basics escalates, workers are being told that we should not chase inflation as it will lead to a ‘wage-price spiral’.
There is no evidence for this. Recent figures show that in the year to the end of March hourly wages rose by 1.9%. Inflation was 6.9%. This shows that real wages are being cut on a massive scale. There hasn’t been an effective pay cut like this since the financial crash.
Up to March a worker on average full time wages was down €2500 in spending power, but it’s now estimated that you could be out of pocket by €3500 a year as prices keep going up. So all workers need a pay rise.
PREPARE FOR ACTION
Union leaders will want to go back into talks hoping that they can tweak this deal but we should be clear: workers need 10% to compensate them for inflation over last year and this year.
The government needs to get a message that we won’t take pay cuts. Workers should now prepare for action.
Let’s ballot for industrial action to send a clear signal to the government that we need real pay increases now.