(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
I’m committed to public service, but for seven years the government has been holding down my pay
Ashley, a medical clerk, writes about the real-life impacts of the public sector pay squeeze. Sign our petition to support workers like Ashley.
I enjoy my job because I’m making a difference, even if I’m not on the frontline. Backroom staff keep our public services going, and I know how important it is that we do a good job.
But that’s getting harder. For years, the government has been actively holding down my pay, along with everyone else who works in the public sector. For 7 years, our pay has risen more slowly than inflation — or not risen at all.
My take-home pay has effectively gone down thanks to a 50 per cent rise in my pension contribution. I’ve noticed the cost of food and petrol going up, and I worry about paying my mortgage. I already make lots of savings — I don’t take holidays and organise Christmas on a budget.
But despite that, I currently need my overdraft in order to manage. I’m usually back in my overdraft a week after I’ve been paid.
I can see that my colleagues are facing the same challenges. They talk about how much of their wages go on bills and how their pay isn’t going far enough. Morale at work is definitely at a lower ebb than it used to be.
Something’s got to give
We can see that jobs like ours are better-paid in the private sector and it seems inevitable that people will start taking those jobs instead. We work hard for little pay and we’re really dedicated to our roles, but eventually something’s got to give.
I’m not asking for much from the government — just a fair deal for all public service workers.
Because of course it’s terrible that firefighters, nurses, police and other frontline staff aren’t getting the pay increases they deserve. But backroom staff don’t deserve a pay cut either.
I know we have public support on this. It’s clear from the general election result that people are worried about our public services, and about how public sector staff are being treated. At last, the government seems to recognise that paying us fairly is not only affordable, it’s the right thing to do.
But if they’re going to stop cutting public servants’ pay, it needs to benefit us all, whether we work on the frontline or in the backroom.
Take action: Sign the petition to Theresa May now