Nursing staff suggest that we should give MP’s nothing and instead clap for them for a few Thursdays.
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Interestingly, New Zealand’s Prime Minister has said she and other ministers will take a 20% pay cut lasting six months to show solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus outbreak, as the death toll continues to rise, but at the same time said that there is no suggestion whatsoever that frontline workers should be expected to do anything like.
As members of the labour movement we should support MP’s receiving a salary and administrative costs. If MP’s didn’t receive a salary they would have to rely on donations or perhaps not be able to stand and hence whilst we might like Labour MPs to be supported financially by the Trade Unions the real risk is that without allowances the House of Commons would look more white, more male and more like a public school common room
In 2014/15 I encountered a Conservative MP, me the National Convenor for Unison in the probation sector, he the Minister of Justice setting about the since failed privatisation of probation. He was scathing of my view that we would consider all options to resist privatisation and secure an above inflation pay rise. So I made him an offer which I would go back and recommend to my members if he agreed, which was this:-
We lay out a mechanism that will take the pay of all workers (especially those that have seen stagnation due to government policy) back to 2008 values, then, if MPs receive a 0% rise then so would we, equally they 2% us the same, and as happened in 2014/15 when MPs received over 10% we would expect the same.
Of course he would hear none of it but you have to accept that it is a compelling argument and consider the value of the view of a minister who thought privatising probation was a good idea though it cost the public purse around half a billion pounds and led to an unknown numbers of crimes being committed by those offenders who the privatised system failed to rehabilitate.
As increasingly more and more workers face unemployment or having their pay reduced to 66% many will believe that such a rise at this time is to say the least wrongful and untimely.
I am not critical of a system that gives MPs a rise, I am critical of a system that holds back workers pay and understand why when Matt Hancock said “now is not the time to discuss a pay rise for nurses”, whilst accepting a three grand pay rise, nursing staff suggest that we should give MP’s nothing and instead clap for them for a few Thursdays.
From 2010 to 2020, local government workers have been subject to a combination of pay freezes and minimal increases. Under a two-year deal awarded agreed in 2018, the majority of employees were given 2% annual rises. In total the Pubic Sector have seen their wages increase by about 1% per year, so that’s 10% since 2020 whilst MPs salaries have gone up by over 24% over the same period. Looking further back to the turn of the century when MPs salaries were £48371 to today’s rate of almost £82,000 that’s a rise of over 56% since 2000.
But I am critical of a system that allows many MP’s to have very lucrative other consultant roles that distracts them from being an MP and also massively critical of MP’s who step into lucrative positions with organisations who they came into direct contact with whilst in cabinet. I do also acknowledge that many MP’s do very valuable work as unpaid board members and community activists.
According to a 2014 YouGov poll, people are “overwhelmingly against” MPs having any second jobs. Only 26% agreed with the statement that “some MPs continuing to do second jobs like medicine, law or running a business keeps them in touch with ordinary people, and is better than having a House of Commons made up of just full-time politicians”.
The MPs’ pay proposal is now open for consultation until 6 November, with a final decision due in December.