Pay freeze - “Happy New Year” from Sheffield Council
This week many council staff will have received a letter from their employer asking them to agree to a freeze on incremental pay increases over the next two years. After failing to reach a collective agreement with the trade unions, the council has decided to seek individual agreement from its employees. It claims that the sole reason for this action is ‘to safeguard the employment of as many individuals as possible’. The implication here is that if you disagree with taking what amounts to a pay cut over the next two years (taking inflation into account), you’re basically being selfish and threatening the jobs of your fellow workers.
This misses an important point - why we’re having to save money at all. The driving force behind these measures are the cuts announced by the current government. Responsibility for the effects of the spending review is being passed to public sector workers from the people who created the mess that apparently made these cuts “necessary” (which of course they aren’t). These are the very same people who will be receiving billions of pounds in bonuses yet again this year as the government demonstrates its unwillingness to take on the banks.
We should not sign these letters. To do so is to implicitly accept responsibility for a mess that isn’t of our making and a solution that is unjust and unnecessary. We must oppose cuts whatever form they take, however they are sold to us.