Unions attack bid for regional wages

James Sorah

James Sorah

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FURIOUS public sector campaigners and union members have slammed Government plans to introduce a regional pay structure.

Blackpool Against the Cuts, and unions on the Fylde coast, say it will lead to massive wage cuts and have urged the Government to reconsider.

The groups fear the NHS and education system would suffer if more money is paid to public sector workers in the south than the north.

James Sorah, secretary of Blackpool Against the Cuts, says doctors and nurses would not work in Blackpool if the moves went ahead.

He said: “First of all it’s an absolute disgrace and from a political point of view it’s the Conservatives flipping two fingers at the rest of the UK.

“I can’t believe they feel they can get away with this without there being consequences.

“It’s going to impoverish areas which are already impoverished.

“It’s not just an insult, it doesn’t make sense economically and will lead to people finding it hard to become a doctor or a nurse in Blackpool.”

Ken Cridland, secretary of Lancashire National Union of Teachers, said the regional pay structure will also lead to a lack of teachers.

He said: “Blackpool is a low pay area in general and the North West is quite low compared to everywhere else.

“This is yet another part of the austerity package.

“Not only would it be difficult to get teachers to come to Blackpool, it would be hard for those who are already teachers.

“The community will also be affected because people who spend money in their local restaurant won’t do that any more, dragging the economy even further down.”

Paul Maynard, Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said: “This is not about pay cuts, but different rates of pay growth and builds on the idea of the last Government which saw the courts operate a system of regional pay.

“If the private sector cannot compete with the public sector locally on pay, the local economy becomes unbalanced.

“This is driven partly by nationally set pay levels in the public sector that do not account for regional variations in the cost of living.”