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Survey shows 2-in-3 want regional pay plan scrapped

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 25, 2012

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Most people want the Government to scrap controversial plans for regional pay, believing the move would be unfair on public sector workers, according to new research.

A survey of over 1,000 adults for the TUC found only one in four supported the idea of different wage rates for nurses, teachers and other workers, in different parts of the country.

Around two thirds said the plans should be dropped and a similar number described regional pay as unfair.

Three out of four Lib Dem supporters and just over half of Tories didn't want the plans to go ahead.

Unions warn that local pay rates would make it more difficult for schools and hospitals in poorer parts of the country to recruit staff as wages there would be reduced.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "Ministers should be listening to those MPs who live in less affluent parts of the UK and who are only too aware of the damaging impact that an even longer public sector pay freeze could have on their local economies, which are already taking a hammering as families rein in their spending and austerity bites hard."

If individual hospitals were going to have to set their own rates of pay, the time and complexity of the resulting wage negotiations, and subsequent problems with recruitment, as staff migrated to parts of the NHS able to pay more, could have a damaging impact on patient care," he said.

"The Government's regional pay plans will not help create a single new job in the private sector, and can only do harm to already-struggling local economies.

"The most sensible thing ministers could do is drop these ill thought-out plans and concentrate instead on policies that will tackle unemployment and increase the UK's chances of creating economic growth."

Gail Cartmail, Unite's assistant general secretary, said regional pay systems were a "backward step" that would make it harder for hospitals and schools in far- flung parts to recruit and retain staff.

"We believe national pay agreements promote equality and fairness – whether you are a nurse in Cornwall or a nurse in Doncaster, if you do the same job you should get the same pay.

"Moves to introduce postcode pay have nothing to do with improving services or patient care – it is about driving down pay and priming public sector workforces for privatisation."

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