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'Public Are Watching' As Parliament Votes On Public Sector Pay Pinch

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Union’s analysis shows the number of public sector workers outstripped Tory majority in over 80% of the seats lost by the party in this month’s general election.

GMB, the union for public sector workers, has today issued a warning to Tory MPs the public are watching their vote on a Labour amendment to end the public sector pay pinch.

The amendment, tabled by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and set to be voted on this afternoon – calls on the government to “end the public Sector Pay Cap and give the emergency and public services a fair pay rise.”

Analysis by GMB has revealed the Conservative’s seven year squeeze on public sector pay may have cost the party dozens of seats in this month’s general election [1] including Ipswich, Lincoln, Peterborough, Reading East and Bury North.

It comes as a growing list of senior Conservatives – including Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and former Cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin – say lessons should be learned from the freeze on public sector pay [2].

GMB’s analysis of the election results supports claims by Prime Minister’s Theresa May’s new chief of staff Gavin Barwell, who lost his own Croydon Central, that the squeeze was a factor in the Conservative’s diminished electoral performance. [3]

Former civil service head Lord Bob Kerslake has also since warned, following the General Election, that “the consensus on public-sector pay will have to be revised”. [4]

Polling in March 2017 under taken for GMB by Survation revealed 3 in 4 adults (75%) would support an above inflation increase in public sector wages this year – with the move to end the public sector pay pinch gaining approval among Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour and UKIP voters. [6]

GMB is leading the ‘End the Public Sector Pay Pinch’ campaign, highlighting the impact the impact the Conservatives’ 10 year pay squeeze is set to have – with local government workers, school support staff and NHS public servants set to lose thousands by 2020 under Theresa May’s current plans [5].

The figures reveal the average public sector worker is set to lose £13,027 between 2010 and 2020 as a result of the pay pinch.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary said:

“The UK’s public services don't magically happen - they're run each and every day by hard working, dedicated staff who deserve better than to have money pinched from their pockets by a Government that doesn't seem to understand or care about the cost of living.

“The Tories have already been punished at the ballot box this month for their stubborn refusal to end pay cuts for public sector workers.

"The electorate is watching the way MPs vote today – and those who refuse to change course on a pay pinch that is hurting teaching assistants, local government workers and dedicated NHS staff are going to get a shock at the next election, whenever that may be.

“The financial crash wasn’t caused by school caretakers, council officers or hospital porters.

"It’s outrageous that they are still expected to pay the price for the banking crisis over a decade later.

"Enough is enough.”


Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to Editors

[1] GMB analysis reveals the number of public sector workers outstripped majority in 27 of the 32 seats (84%) lost by the party in Thursday 8 June General Election. See table:

[2] Sir Michael Fallon: it is obviously something we have to consider…. right across the public sector as a whole, Guardian (28 June 2017)

Chris Grayling: we obviously have to learn lessons from the general election, Guardian (28 June 2017)

Oliver Letwin: government must look at tax rises for sake of public services, Guardian (28 June 2017)

[3] Theresa May's chief of staff Gavin Barwell: Austerity and Brexit cost us, BBC (12 June 2017)

[4] Election result: Conservative minority spells end of the public sector pay squeeze says Lord Bob Kerslake, Civil Service World (9 June 2017)

[5] Survation surveyed 1,019 people online on 2-3 March 2017. Data were weighted to the profile of all UK adults aged 18+. Survation are a member of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules. 3 in 4 adults (75%) said they would support an above inflation increase in public sector wages this year - 69% of people currently intending to vote Conservative were supportive. 85% of Labour supporters, 79% of Liberal Democrat supporters and 74% of UKIP supporters indicated they would all back this decision. See attached tables 7-8:

[6] GMB calculates the public sector pay pinch would cost workers the following (2010-2020):

Average Public Sector Worker - £13,027

Teaching Assistant - £8,867

Ambulance Fleet Assistant - £9,679

Qualified Residential Care Worker - £11,709

999 Call Handler - £11,263

Housing Officer - £14,675

Staff Nurse - £18,360

Midwife - £22,702

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