Gordon Brown should be ashamed of public sector record, says PCS union chief

Gordon Brown has been branded a “miserable prime minister” and told to “hang his head in shame” for his treatment of public sector workers.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS trade union, called for public sector unions to take national industrial action to change the Treasury’s Pay Remit Guidance for 2008.

“The treatment at the hands of this government is a disgrace,” said Serwotka at the PCS national conference in Brighton.

“In the past 10 years, the government said things could only get better, but they’ve only got worse.”

“Continued privatisation, the use of the third sector, the [claims of a] relationship between inflation and public sector pay, the effect of job cuts on service quality – it is a treatment that we should never put up with, and we should condemn those politicians, particularly Gordon Brown, who should hang his head in shame.”

Members agreed salary negotiators should reject all below-inflation offers, measured against the Retail Price Index.

Serwotka also called for the Treasury’s Remit Guidance to be changed to:

  • Provide full inflation-level pay increases, instead of the 2% pay cap
  • Create separate funding of pay progression costs from basic increases and bill growth costs
  • Abandon pressure on Civil Service organisations to adopt local/regional pay.

“We are faced with a government and a prime minister who has said he wants to reduce the size of the Civil Service to its 1945 numbers of staff,” said Serwotka. “[That was] a time of rationing and hardship, in a country that still only had a minimal welfare state – what a miserable statement from a miserable prime minister”.

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