Most members of the public believe government plans to introduce regional pay rates for public sector workers are unfair, according to a new study.
A survey of over 1,000 adults for the TUC found 56% opposed to the move, with just 28% describing it as fair.
There were majorities against regional pay in every part of the UK, as well as among Liberal Democrat voters.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The government wants to play divide and rule between public and private sectors, but a big majority say regional pay freezes are unfair.
“Liberal Democrat MPs in particular should take note. Current voters split two to one and nearly two-thirds of people who voted Lib Dem in the last election think moves to local or regional pay are unfair.
“With new research by the Office of National Statistics showing that the pay gap between public and private sector is mainly due to women and the low-paid getting a better deal in the public sector, the Chancellor’s ambition to hold down the pay of nurses, dinner ladies, and hospital porters looks increasingly like another attack on the hard-working, struggling majority who come nowhere near benefiting from the abolition of the 50p tax rate.”
Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “Regional pay is another bad idea from a government getting a reputation for bad ideas.
“It is divisive, costly, bureaucratic, and, as this poll shows, unpopular. Its imposition will only further cement this government’s reputation for being sorely out of touch.
“Unless the government ditches this proposal once and for all, then George Osborne will go down in history as the Chancellor that divided the nation.”