Survey backs union opposition to controversial government pay scheme

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A new poll shows two thirds of people across the UK are opposed to regional pay.

In the survey by Survation, 28% of respondents said that the proposal is ‘fair’ versus 56% who said it is ‘unfair’ and 15% who replied ‘Don’t Know’.

Opposition among women was particularly significant, with 58% of women (versus 55% of men) saying that the plan is ‘unfair’ and only 23% of women (versus 33% of men) viewing the proposal as ‘fair’.

Commenting on the poll, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The government wants to play divide and rule between public and private sectors, but a big majority say regional pay freezes are unfair.

“Liberal Democrat MPs in particular should take note. Current voters split two to one and nearly two-thirds of people who voted Lib Dem in the last election think moves to local or regional pay are unfair.

“With new research by the Office of National Statistics showing that the pay gap between public and private sector is mainly due to women and the low-paid getting a better deal in the public sector, the Chancellor’s ambition to hold down the pay of nurses, dinner ladies, and hospital porters looks increasingly like another attack on the hard-working, struggling majority who come nowhere near benefitting from the abolition of the 50p tax rate.

“Voters also reject the government claim that dinner lady pay cuts will boost the economy. Only 17 per cent say the proposals will help local economies, and 45 per cent say they will harm the local economy. Again the majority goes the same way in every region and among Lib Dem and Labour voters. This is just another policy that shows this government is out of touch with ordinary voters.”

The survey shows in regards to party allegiances, of those respondents who voted for the Conservatives in 2010, 50% said that the plan is ‘fair’ while 36% said it is ‘unfair’, and of those surveyed who said that they voted for Labour, 13% said that the proposal is ‘fair’ while 77% said it is ‘unfair’. Of those who said that they voted for the Liberal Democrats in 2010, 24% said that the plan is ‘fair’ while 64% said it is ‘unfair’.

As one might expect, the proposal to freeze the pay of public sector workers outside of London and the South East is most unpopular in the North and Scotland (where 21% of respondents said that it is ‘fair’ versus 68% who said it is ‘unfair’).

In the Midlands and Wales, 32% of those surveyed said that the proposal is ‘fair’ while 56% said it is ‘unfair’, while in South, 32% said that the plan is ‘fair’ while 48% said that it is ‘unfair’.

Regarding income, 60% of those in the top bracket said that the proposal is ‘unfair’, the same percentage as those in the bottom bracket. However, 28% of those in the “AB” socio-economic group  said that the plan is ‘fair’ compared to 21% of those categorised as “DE”.

Next, respondents were asked whether the government’s proposal to cut real terms public sector wages, which it claims will help boost job growth in the private sector, will help or harm regional economies beyond London and the South East. 17% of those surveyed said that the policy will ‘help’, while 45% said that it will ‘harm’ and 22% said ‘neither harm nor help’.

There was some differentiation by gender, with 21% of males surveyed saying that the measure will ‘help’, versus 12% of females. 45% of males said that the policy will ‘harm’ compared to 44% of females, while 23% of males said that it will ‘neither help nor harm’ versus 21% of females respondents.

There was little discernible differentiation of opinion between the different income brackets, but regarding age group, 20% of 18 to 34 year olds said that the policy will ‘help’, versus 13% of those aged between 35 and 54, and 18% of those aged 55 and over. 40% of those aged between 18 and 34 said that the policy will ‘harm’, compared to 49% 35 to 54 year olds and 43% of those aged at least 55. 19% of 18 to 34 year olds said that the policy will ‘neither help nor harm’ versus 22% of those aged between 35 and 54 and 24% of those aged 55 and over.

Opinion was fairly evenly divided across the regions- of those in the North and Scotland, 14% said that the policy will ‘help’, while 46% said ‘harm’ and 22% said ‘neither harm nor help’, while in the Midlands and Wales, 19% said that the measure will ‘help’, while 46% said ‘harm’ and 21% said ‘neither harm nor help’. In the South, 17% said that the policy will ‘help’, while 42% said ‘harm’ and 22% said ‘neither harm nor help’.

Full data tables are available here.

 


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