Warning over public sector pay as unions strike

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TEACHERS, firefighters, civil servants, NHS staff and council workers are more than £2,200 worse off on average since the coalition came to power, according to a new study.

The research, published ahead of a strike by over a million public sector workers tomorrow, showed that pay had been frozen or limited to below inflation since 2010.

The National Union of Teachers Unite, GMB, PCS and the FBU unions are all taking action on the same day over pay disputes.

NUT members are striking in relation to their long running dispute with Education Secretary Michael Gove over pay, pensions and workload. Ian Stevenson, the NUT regional secretary for Yorkshire said he expected the majority of state schools to be affected by the action – especially as the strike involved not only teaching staff but also support staff from other unions.

Early figures from just six out of the 15 education authority areas in the region show more than 380 schools will be closed or partially closed. There will be at least 51 affected in Barnsley, 82 closed or partially closed in Bradford, 39 closed and four partially closed in Doncaster, 15 closed and another 29 partially closed in the East Riding, 53 affected in North Yorkshire and 71 affected in Wakefield according to local councils.

Leeds NUT branch secretary Patrick Murphy said he expected 70 per cent of schools across the city would be affected by the strike.

The TUC has warned that morale among public sector workers was being “hit hard” as their pay continues to lag behind prices.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The economy may be picking up, but having paid the price in pay freezes and below inflation pay increases for several years there is to be no financial let up for town hall employees and other public sector workers.

“For them there are no shares to be had in the UK’s economic recovery. Instead several more years of penny-pinching and frugal living lie ahead.

“Right across the public sector workers believe that Ministers neither care about nor understand the pressures on their already stretched household budgets.”