Thank you to all those who contacted me about civil service pay.

On 31 March 2022, the Government published the civil service pay remit guidance for the financial year 2022/23. This set out a limit to pay increases of 2-3%. The Government claims the guidance “considers economic conditions while balancing the need for sustainable public finances”. However, I am aware of the objections that Prospect, PCS and other trade unions have raised at the guidance.

The Government needs to address the cost-of-living crisis that is hitting public sector workers and the general public alike. Ministers must therefore get around the table and negotiate with trade unions across the public sector.

Regrettably, rather than do this, Ministers have presented a Bill to Parliament which will place new limits on employees’ right to strike. In my view, it should be the Government’s role to seek to solve pay disputes constructively through negotiations, not to stoke division nor seek to curtail people’s labour rights.

For this reason, I oppose their Bill and I support updating employment legislation to make it fit for a modern economy: one in which workers can secure fair pay, terms and conditions. I support the Opposition’s proposals to outlaw fire and rehire practices; ban zero-hours contracts; give people rights at work from day one; reform statutory sick pay; strengthen paternity and maternity rights; oversee the roll-out of fair pay agreements to drive up pay and conditions for workers; and introduce an economic policy that will deliver high skilled, well-paid jobs.

Under the current Government, our economy has been forced into a vicious circle of higher taxes, lower investment, squeezed wages and the running down of public services – all of which damage growth and harm young people’s prospects. In contrast to this Government’s policies, I want to see a fairer, greener, and more dynamic economy, creating well-paid jobs across the country.

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