Pay slash fears for thousands

Wigan Town Hall on Library Street
Wigan Town Hall on Library Street

NEARLY one one in three workers in Wigan could be forced to take a pay cut, according to union bosses.

The GMB has hit out at what it says are plans by the Government to force dramatic salary reductions on public sector workers - of which 28.5 per cent of Wigan’s workforce are employed.

And this is not making allowances for cuts made by private companies.

GMB chiefs say that regional pay plans being drawn up by Whitehall will see Wigan hit badly, with some 39,300 of the 137,700 people employed locally working in the public sector.

With such a high Wigan percentage, only Sefton is predicted be hit harder (30.3 per cent) in the North West. The GMB estimates that in total some 775,800 workers in the region are employed in the sector.

Regional pay for public sector staff – bringing salaries in line with remuneration rates in the private sector – could save taxpayers £6.3bn a year, according to Policy Exchange.

In its latest report, Local Pay, Local Growth, the right wing thinktank claims that adjusting public sector salaries by region could create 288,000 new private sector jobs in areas of high unemployment.

But Paul McCarthy, GMB Regional Secretary in North West Region, said: “Tories want to cut pay of 309,300 public sector workers in this region to the lower levels that sadly now prevail in the region following the devastation by the same Tories of our manufacturing and mining industries.

“If implemented this would be a further devastating blow for local economies in the North West. For some reason Tories have a problem with workers in the North West. They just don’t like to see them doing well.

“Over a quarter of all workers are employed in the public sector and they have all had pay freezes during this recession.

“To reduce their pay further would not only be iniquitous it would also reduce consumer spending and choke off business confidence. The result would be local economies suffering a further drop in demand and private sector jobs being lost in their thousands.

“Cutting pay is in no-one’s interest in this region. As well as a regional policy to promote good well paying jobs in this region we need the levelling up of the poor pay in the shops and other commercial services in this region not a levelling down of public sector pay.”

The GMB say the impact of the introduction of regional pay for public sector workers in Wigan and the North West was spelt out during a debate at the TUC Congress in Brighton on a motion opposing regional pay moved by the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association and seconded by GMB.