Unions thrash out action plan against public sector pay cap

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Unions will discuss co-ordinated action in a campaign to end the controversial cap on public sector pay.

The TUC Congress in Brighton will finalise plans for rallies and demonstrations as well as ballots for industrial action.

A debate at the conference on Monday comes amid speculation that police and prison officers are in line for a pay rise above the current 1% limit.

Ministers are expected to accept recommendations for higher pay rises this week, paving the way for similar increases for other public sector workers.

Pay review body recommendations for police and prison officers for 2017/18 are still to be published and awaiting a government response, which Prime Minister Theresa May has said will happen "shortly".

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady will say in her keynote speech: "The Prime Minister talks about the 'sacrifice' public sector workers have made, as if it were their choice.

"Public servants weren't given a say in the matter. They've had seven years of pay freezes and pay cuts imposed upon them.

"They have been forced to work harder for less, while the Government has lined the pockets of corporate Britain with tax giveaway after tax giveaway.

"On October 17, public servants will rally on Parliament Square and send a clear a message to Mrs May - five million hard-working public servants need a pay rise. The public backs it. Now just tell the Treasury to get on with it."

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, said all public sector workers deserved a pay rise.

"We should reject any notion of deserving and undeserving workers. Any attempt by the Government to limit increases to uniformed workers should be rejected by all," he said.

"Now is the time for a united campaign of action on the issue of scraping the pay cap."

GMB national officer Rehana Azam said: "The artificial cap on pay was always a political choice by the Conservative government.

"This cruel policy has seen thousands of pounds pinched from public sector workers over seven years,

"All public sector workers must now receive proper pay rises. That includes those not covered by pay review bodies, such as school support staff, council workers and police staff.

"The Prime Minister will not be able to get away with a sleight of hand on this one."

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "If the pay cap is to be lifted, it must go for everyone.

"All public servants no matter where they live or work, need a proper pay rise now. No one part of the public sector is any more deserving than the rest."

Janet Davies, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Every sign that the Government is shifting its position is welcome. But Theresa May should bite the bullet and consign the whole policy to the scrap heap.

"Thousands of nurses demonstrating outside Parliament last week left MPs in little doubt about the strength of feeling in the profession.

"The Government is ploughing on with a policy that is driving nursing staff out of the NHS and putting patient care at risk.

"If it is not scrapped in the Budget or before, then industrial action goes on the table immediately."