Announcing the end of the public sector pay freeze, Mr Sunak said: “The economic impact and uncertainty of the virus meant we had to take the difficult decision to pause public sector pay.

“Along with our Plan for Jobs, this action helped us protect livelihoods at the height of the pandemic. And now, with the economy firmly back on track, it’s right that nurses, teachers and all the other public sector workers who played their part during the pandemic see their wages rise.”

Don;t we, in fact, rather want to see a change in relative wages? More for lorry drivers, less for paperpushers?

20 thoughts on “Umm, why?”

  1. it’s right that nurses, teachers and all the other public sector workers who played their part during the pandemic see their wages rise.

    What about all the skiving parasites that have done fuck all since March last year? For every teacher who’s made a real effort, there’s been one not bothering. The DVLA twats have not only done nothing but are still doing nothing.

    There’s plenty of people in the public sector who have worked as normal or hard through the pandemic, but millions who have not done a stroke.

  2. Aren’t there problems with recruitment & retention of teachers and nurses? We’ve long had to plunder the nurses from the third world. That suggests a pay rise is required. (The alternative – improving working conditions by reducing the crushing weight of bureaucracy – is never an option.)

  3. But they didn’t ‘pause public sector pay’. Some pay deals – like HMRC’s Pay and Conditions Review – steamrollered on and delivered higher pay during the pandemic shutdown….

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Aren’t there problems with recruitment & retention of teachers and nurses? We’ve long had to plunder the nurses from the third world. That suggests a pay rise is required. (The alternative – improving working conditions by reducing the crushing weight of bureaucracy – is never an option.)”

    Get rid of national wage bargaining that covers all subjects and disciplines first. Allow hospitals and schools to pay more for specific shortages.

    As Tim points sort of points out in his ASI blog today, lets stop training history teachers and use the money to train maths teachers.

    https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/markets-may-take-their-time-but-they-do-work

  5. Without fail the useless paper pushers use nurses,teachers, firefighters etc as human Shields in wage negotiations.

  6. “ public sector workers who played their part during the pandemic”

    “played” being the correct word here, in too many cases.

  7. MC said:
    “For every teacher who’s made a real effort, there’s been one not bothering.”

    Closer to ten not bothering, from what I’ve seen. And that’s before we start on the doctors.

  8. The new taxes to raise money to “Save da NHS” hasn’t even started yet.
    And just like that, it’s gone.

    Swallowed up in pay rises to pen pushers and WFH ‘administrators’.

    The Coke-Ed the Clown & NutNut show just keeps exceeding expectations, day on day.
    How soon before we need an emissions licence just to breathe?

  9. How long did this “pay freeze” last? One year? Two?
    At a tie of low inflation and stagnant private sector pay.
    Meanwhile the performance of the public sector during lockdown was appalling, DVLA only being an egregious but typical example.
    They should be punished not rewarded.

  10. Bloke in North Korea (Germany Province)

    We definitely need more history teachers to teach about how bad the Nazis were, but you aren’t allowed to make any comparison at all between 1933 and 2021 because we haven’t yet sent 6 million unvaccinated people to concentration camps.

    The Nazi era now stands as a benchmark of badness, not a warning.

  11. A classic marker for a shithole country is that the only jobs worth having are for the government. We’re getting there.

  12. “Aren’t there problems with recruitment & retention of teachers and nurses? We’ve long had to plunder the nurses from the third world. That suggests a pay rise is required. (The alternative – improving working conditions by reducing the crushing weight of bureaucracy – is never an option.)”

    There’s no shortage of recruitment (and I doubt retention) of nurses. Every place for nursing college is oversubscribed. And that’s the real problem. We don’t have enough nursing training places. But when college is oversubscribed, why do you want to raise salaries?

  13. MC,

    “There’s plenty of people in the public sector who have worked as normal or hard through the pandemic, but millions who have not done a stroke.”

    When you work in the public sector, it’s horrifying. I know someone who once quit HMRC as a contractor because he said he couldn’t stand the slow pace. One of my mates calls government departments holiday camps, and he’s not far off.

    I’m desperate for political change. Reform party seem to be half asleep, SDP love their fucking trains, Libertarians are great lads, but tiny. We need a party of small government in this country. The Tories are just a bunch of private school socialists.

  14. ‘More for lorry drivers, less for paperpushers?’

    Well, yes Tim. But I only say this because I’m a FORMER bureaucrat.

  15. During the big overhaul of pay scales for nurses a while back they made the definition of specialist position such that it pretty much only applied to midwives, so the ICU nurses were told that ICU was not a specialist position, yet as they found out during the pandemic you don’t just chuck a nurse into ICU and tell them to get on with it

  16. I thought that the lock down was a golden opportunity to identify all those in non jobs. Clue, if you stop doing your job for a year and nobody notices, then you might be in a non job.

  17. As a public sector employee, I take issue with the inference that non of us do worthwhile jobs.
    While I don’t doubt that there are a few “cushy backwaters” where people can lounge about, there’s a lot of us in “invisible” jobs supporting those who are deemed worthy of news headlines.
    @ Phillip
    “This” pay freeze (I refuse to call it a pause) may have been for just a year, but it comes hot on the heels of a decade of below inflation pay rises. The “gold plated” pension isn’t what it used to be, the gold leaf is flaking showing base metal underneath after various reforms (some of which were found to be unlawful). And other benefits have also been eroded – not least, the elimination of performance related progression up a pay spine.
    In many areas retention is a real problem – people can move to the private sector for more pay. It’s hard to recruit replacements, so many departments are reliant on contractors to make up the numbers – at higher cost, generally less interest in the job, and with zero retention of skills in the business when they leave.

    And for good measure, at every opportunity the press (and some internet pundits) have a go with their “whitehall mandarins” (I’ve not been near any London office)or “pen pushers” (there are many really ‘hands on’ jobs in the civil service) put downs.

  18. I don’t doubt there are many capable public employees, my wife was one for a few years. Like most workplaces, there are 20% stars, 60% OK workers, and 20% dross. In the private sector the dross are generally told to shape up or ship out, but in the public sector this rarely happens and they can stay on for a working lifetime, collecting their annual increments and pensions.

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