by Tim Lezard A quarter of a million civil and public servants are today on strike over pay. The action by PCS members coincides with new cost of living figures that reveal the real effect of pay cuts, and takes place as NHS workers are working-to-rule …

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PCS N30by Tim Lezard

A quarter of a million civil and public servants are today on strike over pay.

The action by PCS members coincides with new cost of living figures that reveal the real effect of pay cuts, and takes place as NHS workers are working-to-rule hacking completed a four-hour strike on Monday.

A new measure called the ‘real Britain index’ shows the poorest in society are hit hardest by the spiralling cost of food, clothing, energy and housing.

It also reveals civil servants on median pay face a true inflation rate of 2.36%, while the government’s preferred consumer prices index was at 1.2% for September.

The latest official civil service statistics, published by the Office for National Statistics last week, show the large number of civil servants in lower to middle ranking executive officer posts have received only a 2.05% rise since 31 March 2010.

The action puts pay in the spotlight, with wages frozen for two years after 2010 and subsequently capped at 1%.

Since 2010, taking into account pay cuts, the increase in monthly pension contributions and the cost of living, many civil servants will have suffered a 20% cut in their incomes by next year, the union says.

Unlike CPI and the retail price index, the RBI takes account of the fact those on different incomes spend their money differently, with poorer households spending proportionately more on essential items.

After early morning picket lines there will be protests and political lobbying events across the UK, including a central London protest in Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament from 11.30am to 12pm.

There will also be a demonstration at 11am outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, in London, against plans to privatise visitor services. The protest comes as the gallery prepares, for the first time, to use private security guards to staff a new Rembrandt exhibition.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “These figures prove what people in low paid households already know, that the real cost of living is soaring while wages are being cut year after year.

“Our action this week demands an end to these cuts that are slashing the public servants’ living standards at the same time as millionaires are handed tax cuts and tens of billions of pounds is stolen from our public finances every year through tax evasion.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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