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Labour Party McDonnell vows to scrap public-sector pay cap on first day in government

A LABOUR government would scrap the public-sector pay cap on its first day, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has vowed.

He reiterated the manifesto pledge at a parliamentary rally yesterday evening held by the Civil Service union PCS.

Labour has drafted legislation that it would be ready to enact in government in order to “restore the country” after eight years of spending cuts by the Tory government, he said.

“We are hoping that the Tories will go soon. They’re in paralysis with the back benches and the DUP vetoing everything.

“In the meantime, to prepare for government we are taking every policy and drafting legislation to be ready for when we go in.”

He accused the government of using the “divide-and-rule” tactic of lifting the pay cap for uniformed public-sector workers — police and prison officers, of which he pointed out the majority are men — while leaving mainly non-uniformed ones without.

The government is lying when it says it does not have money for lifting the cap, he said. “We did not believe it then and we do not believe it now.”

Also present were PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, PCS president Janice Godrich, Labour MPs Laura Pidcock and Ian Lavery, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, teaching union NEU president Louise Regan and  Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) think tank director Dr Faiza Shaheen.

Ms Shaheen presented Class’s new research showing that Whitehall budgets have been slashed so dramatically that departments will not be able to even afford well-below-inflation pay awards of 1 per cent.

To afford the above-inflation 5 per cent rise, the DWP, HMRC and Department for Transport would each need a 20 per cent increase in expenditure limits.

She said it was “beyond an injustice” that the government was “fudging the truth” by claiming that jobs would have to be cut in order for the workers to get a pay rise. 

Ms Cartmail said it would be “unimaginable” that private-sector employees would be told to “find the money themselves” when requesting a pay rise.

Mr Serwotka reiterated calls for PCS members to receive a 5 per cent or £1,200 rise, whichever is the greater, and a real living wage of at least £10 an hour.

Those attending stood and held a moment of silence for parliamentary trade union researcher Simeon Andrews, who died suddenly last week.



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