MPs are expected to vote on whether to lift the public sector pay cap later today following a debate on the Queen’s Speech.
The vote has been put forward by the Labour Party as part of an amendment to the speech, which was delivered last week to lay out the priorities for the new government.
”Our emergency service workers make us proud at the worst of times for our country… and deserve the pay rise they have been denied for seven years”
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said emergency services workers “make us proud at the worst of times for our country”, as shown by their response to recent events including the Grenfell Tower fire in London and terrorist attacks.
These staff “deserve the pay rise they have been denied for seven years,” he said in a statement.
The move comes after nurses staged a series of demonstrations across the UK yesterday to mark the beginning of the Royal College of Nursing’s “summer of protest” over the government’s pay cap, which restricts annual rises to 1%.
Pay for nurses and other NHS staff under the Agenda for Change system was increased at below-inflation rates in 2010, was frozen from 2011 to 2013 and since 2014 has been limited to a 1% increase.
In 2015 the government announced public sector pay would be capped at 1% on an annual basis for a further four years.
The RCN said the vote this afternoon would provide MPs with “the first opportunity to show they are listening” following yesterday’s protest.
”The protests will have left Theresa May in little doubt over nurses’ fears for the safety of their patients and why this cap on pay must go”
“The protests will have left Theresa May in little doubt over nurses’ fears for the safety of their patients and why this cap on pay must go,” said RCN chief executive and general secretary Janet Davies.
Unison noted politicians from all parties had praised the efforts of public sector workers over the past few months.
“This vote gives MPs a chance to show they really mean what they’ve said,” said Unison general secretary Dave Prentis.
“Public sector pay has fallen behind in the last seven years and this has caused real hardship for workers and their families. It’s also made it more difficult to recruit and retain staff in key public services,” he added.
In a statement, Mr Corbyn said: “You can’t have safety and security on the cheap. It is plain to see that seven years of cuts to our emergency services has made us less safe; it’s time to make a change.
“Our emergency service workers make us proud at the worst of times for our country, such as the Grenfell Tower fire and the recent terrorist attacks, and deserve the pay rise they have been denied for seven years.
“Conservative cuts have failed. Labour has a different approach, which values those who look after us and will transform Britain for the many not the few.”
The debate on the speech is scheduled to begin at 12.30 today.