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Unions urge government to give public sector workers a pay rise

Public sector unions and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) are calling on the government to give public sector workers a pay rise.

Senior trade union leaders have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to make the case for a pay rise after reports of public sector pay restraints.

The groups point out that over the last decade, some public sector workers have seen the real value of their pay fall by over £3,000 a year.

While making the case for a pay rise, the unions emphasised new research from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) which revealed the marked boost to GDP and increased tax take achieved by increasing public sector pay.

Frances O’Grady, TUC’s general secretary, said: “All public sector workers are key workers. Care workers, teaching assistants, refuse collectors firefighters and all our dedicated public servants are the ones getting us through this crisis – often at great personal risk.

“Holding down their pay is no way to reward their service. Public sector workers have already endured a decade of pay restraint.”

She added: “And it makes little economic sense. Freezing pay will give workers less money to spend on their local high street.

“If the government is serious about levelling up Britain, it shouldn’t be levelling down public sector pay.”

Lydia Prieg, head of economics at the NEF, said: “Key workers play a vital role in our communities and have held our economy together throughout this crisis.

“But still, when we’ve come to rely on our community health workers, teachers and carers now more than ever, they continue to be underpaid and undervalued.”

She added: “Our analysis shows that public sector pay rises are not only a just reward for the workers protecting us on the frontline, but they will also boost demand and strengthen the economy in a time of recession.”

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