Friday, 5 March 2010

Adding insult to injury...

Michael Savage, writing in today's Independent, reveals that "the salary handed to MPs is to top £65,000 for the first time next month when they will be awarded a 1.5 per cent pay rise." In a letter to speaker John Bercow, "the Senior Salaries Review Body concluded that the 1.5 per cent pay rise was warranted after analysing the increases enjoyed by 15 other groups of public-sector workers."

Apparently, "it is lower than the increase of 2.33 per cent enjoyed by MPs last year," but this doesn't alter the fact that it is nothing short of contemptuous arrogance.

On Monday and Tuesday, members of the PCS within the civil service will be out on a two-day strike. The dispute centres around cuts to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, effectively making it cheaper to lay people off. At the same time, 800 HM Revenue & Customs staff already face their contracts ending in March, supposedly lacking a "business need" for their jobs despite hundreds of thousands of people face paying too much tax due to system errors. In local councils, 25,000 people face job losses, whilst 1.4 million will get no pay rise.

By contrast, it was only public outrage that forced MPs to repay £1 million in expenses which, despite being morally dubious, were entirely legal. Their earnings will rise from £64,766 to £65,737, and cabinet ministers are paid £79,754 on top of that.

As Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis says;
It does not seem right that MPs can get a 1.5% pay increase, worth £1,000 a year on basic pay, when low paid workers such as teaching assistants, school dinner ladies, social care workers, road sweepers will get nothing, because their pay is being frozen.

They might also want to contemplate on the speeches and seminars calling for lengthy pay restraint in the public sector and the damage they cause to morale and public confidence.
This news must be the final nail in the coffin of working class confidence in the political classes and political process. If it isn't, then one might well question what hope we have of surviving the class war being waged against us.