15/02/2018 - Kids living in poverty due to public sector pay cap

paysqueezeOne in seven children of public sector workers will be living in poverty by the end of next month.

Research by the TUC found that the Tories’ cap on public sector pay as well as in-work benefit cuts were pushing tens of thousands of children below the poverty line.

Around 550,000 children living with a public sector worker in the family will be classed as being in poverty by the end of the current financial year, said the TUC.

The research also found:

Families where both parents work in the public sector are the biggest losers from the government’s pay restrictions and benefit changes. Their average household income will be down £83 each week in real terms by April 2018 compared to 2010.

Households where one parent works in the public sector and another works in the private sector will lose on average £53 a week.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said, “The government's pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts are causing needless hardship.

“Public servants shouldn't have to worry about feeding or clothing their kids. But many are struggling to afford even the basics.

“Ministers must give public sector workers the pay rise they have earned. If they don't, more families will fall into poverty.”

Unison's assistant general secretary Christina McAnea commented, “Poor pay has left many public sector families desperately watching the pennies.

“A career helping and caring for others was never going to make millionaires of NHS, school and council staff, but none of them would have expected to be so hard up after years of public service, and for their children to be the ones that suffer.”

The TUC said an individual was considered to be in relative poverty if their household income was less than 60 percent of median income.

Local government workers in the Unison, Unite and GMB unions are being consulted over a two-year deal of 2 percent this year and 2 percent next year.

That means a continuation of below-inflation settlements, and therefore pay cuts. It has to be rejected, and union leaders should be pushing hard to achieve that..

The PCS union won a consultative ballot among its members last year for rejection of low pay.

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity Union said: "The pay cap is causing real misery for workers and their families. It has got to be challenged. I hope that members of Unison, Unite and the GMB will reject the below-inflation offer. I hope that the PCS will ballot for strike action. Unions should co-ordinate strikes through the public sector and break the cap."