Thousands of key workers across Oldham could take a “real term pay cut” after a year of hard work on the frontline fight against Covid-19.
According to analysis by the Labour party, over 9,300 nurses, teachers, and police officers will not see their pay rise in-line with inflation this year.
The Government recently revealed plans for a one per cent pay rise for NHS staff, and a “pay freeze” for all other public sector workers earning over £24,000, with a fixed rise of £250 for any staff earning under £24k.
This change would reportedly see every non-NHS public sector worker earning over £18,000 take a real term pay cut.
Jim McMahon MP, the elected official for Oldham West and Royton, said: “Last week’s budget has confirmed the what many of us already knew, that this Conservative Government have the wrong priorities.
“Frontline key-workers have literally risked their lives keeping our country going throughout the pandemic and now the Chancellor is effectively rewarding them with a pay-cut.
“Not only is it morally wrong it makes no economic sense, families having less money to spend means local business will suffer and our wider economy will take longer to recover.
“It’s wrong, and it shows that this Government’s priorities are out of touch with working people across Chadderton, Oldham and Royton.
“The Government have to rethink this and cancel plans to cut pay for nurses, police officers and teachers.”
Across Jim’s ward, more than 1,100 teachers will see their pay slashed, alongside a large chunk of the 1,840 members of the Armed Forces based across the North West.
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On Tuesday, Sire Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS in England, confirmed that plans had previously budgeted for staff to get a 2.1% pay rise this year.
Sir Simon said that proper recognition for what staff have been through over the course of the pandemic is “entirely right”.
But he called for the independent pay review body to be allowed to do its work without “fear or favour”.
Giving evidence to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, Sir Simon said: “Coming out of the past year and everything that NHS staff have been through, proper recognition for that is entirely right.
“And that goes with the grain of what the public want to see, none of which is to ignore the broader economic context facing the country.
“As the head of the NHS, I’m wanting to make sure that staff get proper reward and not only support through that mechanism, but also fundamentally what staff want to see are a broader range of measures including further increases in the workforce to deal with some of the intense workforce pressures.
“Ultimately in a publicly funded, democratically accountable health service, the government of the day gets to decide what NHS pay should be, but you would expect the head of the health service to want to see properly rewarded NHS staff, particularly given everything that the service has been through over the course of the last year.”
Ministers have argued that the 1% increase was all that could be afforded following the massive hit to the public finances caused by the pandemic at a time when most public sector workers were facing a pay freeze.