JOHN McDONNELL condemned “out of touch” Philip Hammond yesterday after the Tory Chancellor was reported as saying that public-sector workers were overpaid.
Mr McDonnell hit out at Mr Hammond for the comments he allegedly made at a Cabinet meeting last week on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, saying he had been on the picket line with striking hospitals cleaners in London the day before and one worker had given him her payslip.
He said: “This woman, fulltime worker, earns £297 a week. At the moment, median rent in London is nearly £1,500 [a month]. To buy a house in London is half a million pounds. Ask Philip Hammond if he can live on that.”
Mr Hammond refused to deny he made the comments and said that public-sector workers were 10 per cent better off than private-sector workers as they enjoy “very generous contributions” that their employers pay in for their “very generous” pensions.
However, the TUC has published research which showed that wages have plummeted by thousands of pounds a year in real terms since 2010.
The analysis shows that the wages of prison officers, paramedics and NHS dieticians are down by more than £3,800 a year.
Firefighters are down nearly £2,900, while nuclear engineers and teachers are down about £2,500.
Lifeguards’ real pay is £2,200 lower than 2010, when the Tory-Lib Dem coalition came to power, while crown prosecutors have seen their pay fall by £4,400. NHS ancillary staff have lost £1,856 a year.
The analysis blames “artificial government pay restrictions” for the falling wages.
A post-election poll by the TUC showed that 76 per cent of voters — including 68 per cent of Conservative voters — want to give public-sector workers a pay rise.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s been seven long years of pay cuts for our public servants. And ministers still won’t tell us if relief is on the way.
“Recent months have shown how brave and dedicated the people in our public services are. It’s time to give all of our hard-working public servants the pay rise they’ve earned.”
Public-sectors workers will be joined by Ms O’Grady at a protest at Victoria Tower Gardens, outside Parliament, at 10.15am today.
After the protest they will submit a petition to the Treasury protesting at falling public-sector wages.
The online petition by the TUC and campaign group Care2 gathered more than 30,000 signatures.