Socialist Worker

Pay insult to the rest of us

Issue No. 1790

New Labour ministers, MPs, judges and civil service chiefs are stuffing their already bulging pockets while low paid workers are told they can't have a decent pay rise. MPs are grabbing their second pay rise in less than a year next month. They will now be on £55,118 basic-well over double the average national wage. The new rise will mean MPs have awarded themselves an extra £4,000 a year in the last eight months.

Cabinet ministers will get even more, jumping to £135,000 a year. Tony Blair's pay will rise to an obscene £171,554 a year. Judges are to get a whopping 8 percent rise, and top civil servants will rake it in too. Some of the 'permanent secretaries' in government departments are to see pay levels rise to £245,000 a year.

It's a different story for workers who deliver vital public services. They are told their pay will stay at poverty levels. Take the 1.2 million workers in local councils who do important jobs, from providing school meals and meals on wheels to housing. Over a quarter of a million of these workers, mostly women, earn less than £5 an hour.

More than two thirds of all council staff are on less than £13,500 a year-the amount Blair pockets every month. Yet the New Labour dominated council employers' body has told these workers they can get at best a 3 percent rise, as little as 15p an hour extra for some. The workers' unions, Unison, the GMB and the TGWU, last week rejected the offer, and plan ballots on possible strikes.

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Sat 9 Mar 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1790
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