Unions reacted with anger today after the Treasury warned there should be “no expectation” that every worker will receive a pay rise in line with the 1% ceiling George Osborne set for public sector pay.
In a letter to the pay review bodies, chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands said today that the government intended pay rises to be applied in a “targeted manner”.
“Some workers could receive more than 1 per cent while others could receive less”
Treasury letter to pay review bodies
In his summer budget following the general election, Chancellor George Osborne revealed the government would continue public sector pay restraint for four more years, limiting pay rises to 1% per annum.
Mr Hands’ letter to pay review body chairs, including the two that cover NHS nurses and doctors, adds: “The government expects pay awards to be applied in a targeted manner to support the delivery of public services, and to address recruitment and retention pressures.
“This may mean that some workers could receive more than 1% while others could receive less; there should be no expectation that every worker will receive a 1% award.”
Mr Hands added that without further pay restraint public sector investment and jobs could be put at risk.
The letter also repeated warnings from Mr Osborne that the government will pursue reform of pay, terms and conditions and will consider legislation where necessary.
“It is clear from this letter that the government’s promise of a 1 per cent pay rise for public sector workers was all smoke and mirrors”
Responding to the letter, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “It is clear from this letter that the government’s promise of a 1% pay rise for public sector workers was all smoke and mirrors.
“There was no substance to [Mr] Osborne’s claim and NHS staff will be bitterly disappointed to hear many of them may not even get an extra penny for five more years.”
He added: “It is difficult to see how much targeting you can get from a miserly 1% without resulting in hundreds of thousands not getting a pay rise at all.
“Ministers’ acknowledgment of saving at least £8bn with the pay caps and freezes imposed on public sector pay proves it is nurses, healthcare assistants, porters and paramedics who are still paying for a deficit they have nothing to do with.”