Socialist Worker

We still need a pay rise, says TUC—but we’ll need a bigger fight to get it

Issue No. 2566

TUC general secretary Frances OGrady in Teesside last month

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady in Teesside last month


The TUC union federation has called a major lobby and rally of parliament on 17 October “to tell our MPs that Britain’s dedicated public servants need a pay rise”.

It is a welcome development—and long overdue.

The TUC said, “For seven years, government has restricted public sector pay rises to less than inflation—or nothing at all.

“But prices haven’t stopped rising in that time, and inflation means nurses, firefighters, and other public servants’ wages are worth over £2,000 less than they were when the coalition government started in 2010.”

The Westminster rally, in Parliament Square, will come soon after the protest at the Tory party conference in Manchester, called by the People’s Assembly.

The Midlands TUC has called a series of rallies (see below) under the banner of “Britain still needs a pay rise”. Other regions should organise actions too.

These are an opportunity to build momentum and push for serious industrial action over pay.

The government imposed a two-year public sector pay freeze in 2011/12.

This was followed by a 1 percent pay cap until 2015/16, later extended for a further four years in the 2015 Spending Review.

According to Britain’s largest union, Unison, public sector pay has risen by just 4.4 percent between 2010 and 2016 while the cost of living rose by 22 percent.

This means that the average worker became £17,962 poorer over that time. Working class people and services have paid too much for the bosses’ crisis and Tory austerity. We need union leaders to build united resistance.

A coalition of unions in London had already called a march through Whitehall on 12 October against the Tory pay cap.

It’s a shame the TUC didn’t join forces with them and boost that initiative.

It should also put out a call for the mobilisation to the Tory party conference on 1 October.

The Tories should be facing intense pressure over pay. We need more and bigger protests, and an autumn of discontent to smash the pay cap.


Regional rallies—Midlands

Britain still needs a pay rise—rallies called by the TUC. Events in other regions may be announced later.

  • Beeston, 8 September
  • Stafford, 13 September
  • Worcester, 14 September
  • Loughborough, 12 September
  • Stoke-on-Trent, 16 September
  • Clay Cross, 20 September
  • Corby, 21 September
  • Mansfield, 30 September
  • Telford, 23 September
  • Derby, 10 October
  • Stourbridge, 11 October
  • Warwick, 12 October
  • Lincoln, 13 October
  • Northampton, 21 October
Find out more at tuc.org.uk/events

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