From the TUC

If I had a pay rise… A school worker’s story

01 Apr 2014, By

Jenny* works in a school. Here, she explains why public sector workers like her desperately need a pay rise.

If I had fair pay and had received the pay rises long overdue to me I could afford to go to the dentist and not have to choose between paying for gas or electricity or food.

I am a local government worker in a school. I am educated and skilled, I love my job and I enjoy working with children in their early years in primary school, but my pay is so poor that I barely have enough to make ends meet. We are constantly being told that public sector workers are well paid and have gold plated pensions, well not where I work they don’t. The cost of living has risen way above my pay and I can’t see it getting any better. I should be paying into the pension scheme but I just can’t afford to.

I dread the sound of the post dropping through the letter box to deliver yet more bills that need paying, on top my rent which keeps going up year on year. Many friends at work now rely on pay day loans just to get them through to the end of month but I really don’t want to go there.

For three years I had no pay rise and last year we got an increase of 1%, this year it looks like 1% again. If there had been pay rises in line with the cost of living I would have almost £2000 a year more in my pocket. That £2000 would make such a difference to my life and that of my children, we haven’t had a holiday for 4 years and more often than not it’s the charity shops and not the high street where we buy our clothes. Not having to worry about being able to afford the weekly food shop would be heaven.

I’m a hard worker and I’m committed to my job in the school, all I want is a decent pay rise and fair pay for a fair day’s work, is that too much to wish for?

*The author’s name has been changed as she wishes to remain anonymous.

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