Magazine article Public Finance

Deal or No Deal?

Magazine article Public Finance

Deal or No Deal?

Article excerpt

You would be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu when the local government pay negotiations kicked off this week.

Unison, the GMB and the T&G are demanding a 5% pay rise for town hall staff, an extra day's leave for everyone and a 35-hour working week They claim public sector pay has not kept pace with inflation, leaving their members out of pocket.

Local government employers immediately warned that redundancies and cuts to services would be the outcome.

So far, so predictable. But what's different is that these negotiations are taking place in a much harsher financial climate.

Money is tight and, after the Comprehensive Spending Review, it will get even tighter. But the unions are trying their luck anyway.

Public servants deserve to have their efforts properly rewarded. The Public Servants of the Year Awards 2007, which we are launching this week, are intended to acknowledge their dedication.

But even in a benign environment, the unions' claim would be ambitious. Given Gordon Brown's insistence on a 2% cap for public sector pay deals, and the general squeeze on government spending, it seems unrealistic. …

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