Official inflation is 2.1% but unofficially – that is to say, in the real world – it’s much higher. The retail price index, a more realistic measure of inflation, is 4%.
The pay offer for teachers (in England and Wales) is in line with the pay review body’s recommendation – something which did not happen for the police.
So that’s the end of the “public sector pay causes inflation” myth, then.
The fact that teachers have the right to strike will not go unnoticed by the police, who lack this basic right.
Could it be that the government gave a better offer to the teachers because they feared a strike? Yep. That’s it…
But no, wait – a three-year deal? That’s a bit harder to swallow.
Ed Balls, the absurdly-named education minister, is a close ally of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The 2.45% deal is direct from Brown, a sign that his planned pay cap is not working.
The strategy now is to split public sector workers – prevent an alliance of public sector unions, at all costs.
The cost this time has been the headline-grabbing offer which breaks the 2% pay cap.
What to do to get back at the government? For starters those unions affiliated to Labour should stop financing New Labour….
This issue of workers’ rights and pay cuts has a national dimension, too. The prison officers have been banned from taking strike action, but not in Scotland. The independent pay review body’s recommendation on police pay was ignored, but not in Scotland.
The Scottish government’s decisions are based on the SNP’s desire for Scottish independence – the argument for continuing to allow prison officers their rights and for giving police the pay increase recommended by the independent review is that public servants need to feel valued for the hard work they do.
Food inflation is growing at the fastest rate on record, fuel and transport costs are also increasing by double digit percentages (note that there will be no action by Ofgem, the energy regulator, despite rising bills).
Given that we all have to eat, heat our homes, and travel on a regular basis, all that can be done in this situation is demand more pay. This is not out of greed, but necessity.
Unite, Unison and the GMB are demanding a 6% increase for council staff – a not unreasonable demand considering the increases in food, fuel, and travel costs.
So, can we assume that teachers will say, “No deal“?