By Maximilian Clarke
UK public sector unions have responded furiously to proposals by Chancellor Osborne to introduce varying rates of pay for public sector workers.
The proposals are designed to better reflect varying costs of living an median wages in different areas of the UK. Public sector workers in London and the South East tend to be less well paid than their private sector counterparts, whilst in other regions the public sector earn as much as 18% more than the average wage.
However, unions have likened to proposal to a wrecking ball that will see a wholesale labour flight from less well paid regions.
Responding to the news Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: "George Osborne is desperate to smash an enormous wrecking ball into our public sector. It makes no operational sense whatsoever to impose a structure that says a nurse or paramedic in the North East of the country is worth less than someone doing the same job in the South East.
"All this will do is drive workers to the better paid regions, leaving large parts of the country without the professionals essential to sustain local services. Even if the plan is to impose these new rates centrally, it will still require a new, expensive layer of bureaucracy to implement all these hundreds of local deals - money that could much better spent on frontline services.
"And let's nail the myth that this move is about allowing the private sector to catch up on pay; it is nothing to do with that and everything to do with lowering entry costs for a private sector desperate to get its hands on our services.
The PCS union also responded to the plans, blasting them as ‘cruel’:
"Driving down pay even further at the same time as cutting public sector salaries and pensions, and planning to cut the 50p tax rate, would not only be cruel it would be economically incompetent and counterproductive,” said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.
"Local economies - already suffering from Tory-led, politically motivated butchery - are crying out for investment, not more cuts.
"It appears that next week's budget is shaping up to include the exact opposite of what our communities need to help them get back on their feet."
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