FACT: You can keep spinning a pay cut but it’s still a pay cut

This is my response to the Unison leadership’s ‘FACT AND FICTION’ briefing on pay. The Unison document was a disappointing one – consisting of a direct attack on Unite and other unions, an arrogant assumption that a large union can do whatever it wants, and a series of really very weak arguments to justify three years of pay cuts.

I make no apologies for making a detailed response to Unison’s document.

The main problem writing it was trying to keep up to date with soaring prices. The figures emerging over the last few days are genuinely shocking. 

  • The Retail Price Index – ‘real’ inflation measuring increased costs to us – is now 4.2% (up from 3.8% a month ago)
  • The inflation rate on staple food items is now 19%
  • Home energy bills are set to rise by 46% by the end of the year
  • The Bank of England says that inflation will rise ‘sharply’ in the near-term

Against this backdrop, a pay offer of 2.75% this year looks very poor indeed. A pay offer that also locks us into 2.4% next year and 2.25% the year after that looks like a joke.

This is what the Governor of the Bank of England said today about inflation:

‘The near-term outlook for inflation has deteriorated markedly over the past three months. CPI inflation was 3% in April, and rising energy and import prices will almost certainly push inflation up further, possibly significantly, in the coming months. As those price increases feed through to household bills, they will lead to a squeeze on real take-home pay…’

There’s only a squeeze on real take home pay if we allow a squeeze on real take home pay. The ‘proposed agreement’ needs to be kicked out.

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