Magazine article Public Finance

Inequality Street

Magazine article Public Finance

Inequality Street

Article excerpt

Overflowing rubbish bins, picket lines, sackings and strikes. Things are suddenly cutting up rough on the public sector pay front, and you don't have to look far to see why.

The economic downturn, a de facto pay freeze and mounting concerns over job insecurity are all contributing to the unease.

Almost half of public sector employers plan to make redundancies this quarter - up from 21% since the autumn, and a far higher rate than for the economy as a whole. The head of conciliation service Acas is predicting many more disputes ahead.

Some of the pressures souring industrial relations are down to factors beyond public sector managers' direct control. The squeeze on finances and government efficiency drives have severely limited the room for manoeuvre -as witnessed Glasgow council's decision this week to shed more than 400 jobs following a freeze on council tax .

But some of it is self Nowhere is this clearer than in relation to the acrimonious disputes over equal pay (see pages 20-23). This issue led to a major local government strike last week in Birmingham, with another joint union walkout planned for February 26. Disputes over new pay structures are breaking out across the country. …

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