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Nurses are not to blame

9th April 2009

As General Secretary of UNISON, the UK’s largest public sector union with 1.3m members, Dave Prentis says the Tories cannot lay the blame of the current economic crisis at the door of public sector workers.

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George Osborne seems to be trying to deflect attention away from the bankers and greedy speculators who have dragged this country into financial crisis by “pounding public sector workers”.

That shows he is clearly out of touch with reality.

His comments that the “age of excess is over” will not go down well with my members.

Nurses on £22,000 a year, occupational therapists, paramedics, hospital cooks and cleaners or porters on £14,000 have never had any age of excess.

Their three-year pay deal – worth 2.54% from this April and signed up to in good faith – does not make them part of the debt problem and their rise will not go far in covering increases in everyday costs.

With MPs having a 2.33% pay rise, the one million health workers are in line with prevailing economic conditions.

Meanwhile, other local government workers have been offered 0.5%.

Instead of putting pressure on public sector workers, the Tories should reflect on the vital role they play and the importance of public services in terms of the health and wellbeing of the population and stability in the community.

Gaps are already appearing because of the recession but George Osborne’s plans to make cuts in public spending to help balance the fiscal books is unfair and unworkable.

Public sector workers have never been part of any excess.

 

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