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MPs get yet another pay rise... while public sector pay cap stubbornly remains

MPs get yet another pay rise... while public sector pay cap stubbornly remains
MPs will soon enjoy a 1.8 percent pay rise, bringing their incomes to over £77,000 ($102,778). It’s their fourth pay rise in two years. Meanwhile, pay for public-sector workers - nurses, teachers and firemen - remains capped at 1 percent. Merry Christmas.

Politicians will see their pay increase by almost £1,400 ($1,869) in April 2018 to £77,379 ($103,289). MPs’ pay will have effectively risen by around £11,000 ($14,683) since 2014, while public servants face a real-terms pay cut amid stagnating wages and rising living costs.

The salary boost follows a 1.4 percent increase in February, which itself came on top of a 1.3 percent rise in 2016. MPs also saw their wages jump from £67,000 ($89,414) to £74,000 ($98,754) in 2015.

“At a time when there is confusion about the public sector pay cap of 1 percent and trade unions are being told any increases over this amount need to come from existing budgets, the pay rise for MPs is interesting,” a spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, one of the UK’s largest labor unions, told RT.

“The government needs to ensure all public-sector employees get an above-inflation pay rise to make up for the years of austerity they have put people through.”

The union did acknowledge that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has also awarded a 3.4 percent pay increase to its lowest paid staff – taking their salary from £16,600 ($22,155) to £17,167 ($22,911) – in order to comply with the government’s own legislation on the National Living Wage.

To date, the government has failed to give any indication that it will finally lift the 1 percent pay cap on all public sector workers, which has been in place since 2013.

Despite widespread lobbying by trade unions to raise public-sector workers’ pays, Chancellor Philip Hammond entirely omitted the issue from his autumn budget in November.

In 2010, public-sector pay was frozen for two years for all workers but those on the lowest wages. The freeze was replaced with the one percent pay cap in 2013. The government pledged in September to scrap the cap for police and prison officers, but that sparked fierce backlash amid claims that nurses, teachers and other civil servants were equally worthy of a pay rise.

“We have a weak government with no mandates to implement further public sector pay restraint and now is the time not just for resolution but for the action required to defeat this government pay cap and put real-terms pay increases in the pockets of our members,” Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, told The Guardian at the time.

“We know concessions are coming, we know they [ministers] are going to cherry-pick, they are going to attempt to divide and rule. Our message is simple: scrap the cap. We all deserve a pay rise. There are no deserving or undeserving public-sector workers,” he added.

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